Headlines: November 24th, 2005

A groundbreaking partnership has been established to bring about the building of the first independent children’s hospice on an active National Health Service site. The agreement has been reached by the charity Demelza House and Greenwich Primary Care Trust.The charity has been granted planning permission for the site at Eltham in south London, which is owned by the PCT. The proposed hospice will serve the London boroughs of Greenwich, Lewisham, Bromley, Lambeth and Southwark.Demelza House now hopes to begin a fund-raising drive to finance the building of the hospice, which will be a six-bed unit providing short breaks for children as well as accommodation for families. It will also offer ‘Hospice-at-home’ and day-care services for patients and their families.

The charity is also planning to set up a training facility for palliative care children’s nurses on the same site. Demelza House says there is currently a national shortage of nursing staff with expertise in this discipline. The charity’s head of fundraising, James Hanway, said it had built up a good relationship with the Greenwich Primary care Trust and it believed that more joined-up working could only be a good thing.