Important information regarding referrals

Important information regarding referrals

Eden Valley Hospice wish to inform all referrers who refer patients for respite care to our services that during summer 2019 the Medical and Senior Management Team had to take the very difficult decision to temporarily suspend availability and access to respite care at the Hospice.

This decision was taken to account for reduced bed availability whilst we upgraded facilities in some of our in-patient unit rooms and the offer of respite care was meant to recommence in late autumn. However, over the summer and early autumn we regret our medical cover was significantly reduced by Doctors leaving to take up new posts and/or leaving for extended periods of maternity leave. We have actively sought to recruit to the vacant posts but have to date been unsuccessful in securing the appointment of new Doctors to meet our medical cover requirements.

The difficulty in recruiting medical cover in palliative care is not unique to Eden Valley Hospice and reflects a national issue of inadequate medical cover in the palliative and end of life care medical workforce. During this time we have also been proactive and sought to recruit Advanced Nurse Practitioners to support our Medical team.

We reviewed our decision to temporarily suspend access to respite care services in October 2019. We regret that again we had to take the difficult decision to extend the temporary suspension. We acknowledge and understand that the current suspension of access to respite care may present some challenges for those who formally accessed our services for respite care. However, we wish to assure referrers and those who use our services that we took this difficult decision to ensure we could prioritise and maintain our core services to provide care for those patients who may be near to end of life and for those with complex palliative care symptoms that cannot be managed in the community. We believe this decision allows us to ensure we can continue to give high quality Doctor led to care to those who most urgently need expert palliative care.

We respectfully would remind referrers and those who use our services that the priorities for our service have always been meeting the needs of those at end of life and those with complex palliative care symptoms and that access to a respite bed has always been discretionary and based upon the other priorities and demands placed upon our services.

We regret that we were are still unable to reinstate this aspect of our care services due to the continuing shortage in medical cover and we therefore have agreed to extend the suspension until January 2020 when we will again review whether we are in a position to offer respite care.

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