Inpatient palliative care services for patients and families in Walsall will have a new provider from September 2020.

Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust will take over the running of the specialist adult inpatient unit at Walsall Palliative Care Centre from St Giles Hospice.

The service will integrate with other specialist palliative and end of life care services already provided by the Trust at the Palliative Care Centre, across the community and the hospital.

St Giles Hospice has provided inpatient palliative care services in Walsall for the last nine years as part of an NHS contract. This contract comes to an end in 2020 and the future of the inpatient unit has been at the heart of recent discussions between St Giles, Walsall Healthcare and NHS Walsall Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) who plan, buy and monitor healthcare for the borough.

St Giles, Walsall Healthcare and the CCG, believe that fully integrating end of life care services under one provider will offer a more seamless experience for patients and their families in Walsall. The timing of this change also recognises the current financial constraints of charities and ensures that high-quality end of life care is secure for the local population.

This change means that inpatient care at Walsall Palliative Care Centre, along with staff, will transfer from St Giles Hospice to Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust. There should be no disruption to service or patients during this transfer and inpatient care will continue to be delivered from the Goscote Lane site.

Both St Giles Hospice and Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust palliative care services have achieved an ‘Outstanding’ rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and are confident that the high-quality care patients and families receive will be continued.

Emma Hodges, CEO at St Giles Hospice, said: “It is with great pride, gratitude and sadness that we make this announcement. We know how much it meant to the people of Walsall to have their own hospice and we are so very grateful to the local community who have helped us fund such a high-quality service over the past nine years.

“As the contract ends we have to look at what we believe is the best long-term solution for families, and we remain committed to the Walsall population, who will continue to have access to some of our charitably-funded services.

“Patients and families in Walsall remain at the heart of these decisions and we are committed to working alongside the CCG and Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, to ensure a smooth transition.”

Dr Anand Rischie, Chair at NHS Walsall Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We recognise and value the role of end of life care services, and thank all partners for their dedication towards providing specialist care and support to patients and their families in Walsall.

“There is only one chance to get end of life care right so it is vitally important that we sustain high-quality services for local people and ensure a seamless and supported journey for patients and their loved ones by joining-up end of life care services.

“Together with partners, we are committed to continually improving services for local people to ensure they meet their individual needs now and in the future.”

Daren Fradgley, Executive Director of Integration, at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Over the past nine years we have all worked very closely with St Giles to successfully provide excellent, outstanding rated, palliative care services for the people of Walsall.

As a Trust we are the host provider of the Walsall Together Integrated Care Partnership and our ambition is to work together to provide fully integrated health and social care services across the borough.

End of life care is a priority for us all and this as a great opportunity to build on our collective ambitions to provide a seamless approach to care by bringing all palliative care services and the staff who provide them together.

We are extremely thankful to St Giles for all the excellent work that has been done over the last nine years and also to the community of Walsall for the support they have given through charitable donations.

We will continue to work closely with service users, their carers and families as well as staff to ensure that their needs are met as we work through this period of transition and look forward to seeing how we can work together in the future to further improve services for the people of Walsall.”

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