Page last updated at 11:41 GMT, Sunday, 1 February 2009

Hospice steps in to provide care

Caterham hospice
Marie Curie staff and patients had four months' notice of closure

A hospice in West Sussex is to expand to offer care for patients in Surrey affected by the proposed closure of a Marie Curie facility.

Crawley's St Catherine's Hospice, which already has patients in Redhill and Reigate, is to expand into Caterham and East Surrey in the spring.

The closure of the Marie Curie Cancer Care hospice in Harestone Drive, Caterham, has sparked protests.

St Catherine's said it was confident it could provide a high level of care.

The Marie Curie hospice is to close in March, with the loss of 65 jobs.

The charity said it was restructuring its services and was giving 500,000 to Surrey Primary Care Trust (PCT) to help transfer services to other providers.

'Excellent reputation'

The PCT said detailed planning was under way to develop services in time for the 31 March deadline.

"This is fantastic news for people in Caterham and east Surrey," said director Kay Mackay.

"This is the solution we have all been working so hard to achieve.

"Vital services (will be) provided by a local charity with an excellent reputation who will give people the high quality end-of-life care they need."

St Catherine's said more than 70% of its patients were cared for at home, with day care and in-patient services also available.

"In considering this commitment we have had to be sure that we can offer the same level of specialist care we already provide, without compromising the services to our current patients," said chief executive Shaun O'Leary.

"We are confident that we can do this."

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