Since 2015 St Margaret’s Hospice has been reviewing every aspect of end of life care. Through the Fit for Future review, there was engagement with the Somerset community, end-of-life care experts and representatives of local healthcare organisations, including other charities and NHS colleagues across the county, to review the services we provide to patients and their families. This review identified six key challenges:
- Rising demand
- Maintenance of quality
- Fractured services
- Accessibility and equity
- Maintaining and developing the workforce
Since Fit for Future we have been working to address these challenges. We have been investing in our staff and developing how we work with and support others in the county, who are providing care for people approaching the end of their lives. We have invested in our community nursing teams, increasing the number of staff working across the teams to start to provide a 7 day community service. Non-medical prescribers are now part of the community specialist nursing teams and Project ECHO commenced in 2018. Care homes across Somerset have been getting involved in ECHO, learning from clinical experts and each other while sharing case studies using video-conferencing technology. They are very positive about the impact this has had on the care they provide.
However, the challenges we face in delivering end of life care to the whole community are considerable.
On the 31 July 2019, St Margaret’s Hospice Care announced a proposal to remodel its services to address the challenges that we, like so many other hospices across the UK, are facing.
With over 5,500 people dying in Somerset each year and an estimated 4,000 plus who would benefit from hospice care there is a growing gap between those we help and those we are currently unable to provide support to.
This document sets out what the new clinical model for St Margaret’s will be, ensuring that Hospice Care is Fit for the Future.
Providing palliative care and end of life care closer to home, while ensuring specialist care is available for those who need it across Somerset, is a key component of St Margaret’s Strategy.