A NEW integrated end of life and palliative care service for the Rochdale borough is due to launch in summer.

The joint approach between NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group (HMR CCG) and Rochdale Borough Council aims to increase the number of patients who receive palliative and end of life care in their preferred place while reducing the number of end of life treatments and inappropriate deaths in hospital.

Springhill Hospice has been awarded the three-year contract after a tender process which involved members of the public working alongside a CCG panel to assess, score and interview bidders.

The service will begin on 1 July and will see Springhill responsible for delivering all palliative and end of life care in the community across Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale. It will include the hospice's existing Hospice at Home service and 24-hour advice line, but will extend to specialist nursing, education, social work, physiotherapy, counselling and a team of volunteers who will support families in the community.  Springhill also intends to appoint a consultant in palliative medicine.

Dr Lynn Hampson, local GP and NHS HMR CCG's clinical lead for urgent and planned care, said: "We believe everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect with choices around treatment and care from the beginning to the end of their life.

"People consistently tell us that more choice in end of life care, particularly the option to die at home is important to them. This new integrated service will enable more people to die in their place of choice and will see more support for families during these difficult times."

Julie Halliwell, Acting Chief Executive at Springhill Hospice, said: "Our success in winning the tender was down to a combination of the hospice's existing Hospice at Home service which has been in operation now for 18 months and has evaluated extremely well, plus the hard work put in by a team of staff to prepare the tender documents. 

"This is the first time we have been through an NHS tender process and to say it was a huge learning curve is an understatement. The staff involved worked incredibly hard and we are delighted that we have been successful.

"We are truly excited at being given this opportunity to improve the palliative and end of life services available for families in the borough. Patients and their families will be far better supported and be offered more choice as to what they receive and where. We can't wait to get started."

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