MORE patients with life-threatening illnesses can receive specialist hospice care thanks to the generosity of people across the borough.
At the end of last year, Wigan and Leigh Hospice launched a week-long Big Give Appeal that saw all donations made online during that week doubled.
And in just five days more than £20,000 was raised meaning that two new beds could be created. It is the first time the hospice has been able to increase the number of beds available in the last 25 years.
The two extra inpatient beds will be ready for use as early as January 3 taking the total number at the Hindley-based hospice to 14.
Hospice Clinical Director Chris Duddle said: “There are simply not enough specialist palliative care bed spaces in the borough and we have never been able to afford to increase our bed capacity until now.
“It is not only the cost of providing a room with the necessary furnishings and equipment; but a whole infrastructure is needed to provide 24 hour specialist inpatient care.
“It requires additional staff, medicines, supplies and much more.”
The hospice opened in Poolstock in 1983 with just five beds, this number doubled in 1984 and was increased again in 1986 so there were 12 beds but this has remained at the same level until now, despite there being an ever growing need for hospice care.
As well as the money raised during the Big Give Appeal, £150,000 has also been given to the hospice by Ashton, Leigh and Wigan Primary Care Trust.
That money has been used to employ two extra qualified nurses and three health care assistants.
Chris added: “For some time there has been a desperate need to increase the number of beds and this wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the PCT who have provided the £150,000 in recurrent funding required.
“The online campaign in association with the Big Give Appeal raised more than £20,000 which will be used to furnish and equip the rooms.
“This is thanks to the generosity of the public so we would like to say a big thank you to everyone who donated money to the appeal.”
There is currently a waiting list for inpatient beds at the hospice and at worst there can be up to 10 people waiting for a bed.
It is the aspiration of bosses at the Kildare Street hospice that they eventually get 16 beds, which Chris says is what is needed for the size of the borough’s population.
She said: “We have been running at close to full capacity for some time.
“This is a milestone for the hospice and we would like to thank the Primary Care Trust and everyone who donated via the Big Give for their help and support.”
The hospice needs to raise £4,500 every day from charitable sources to maintain all its current services.
This has only been possible due to the unwavering support given in so many ways by the wider local community.