Page last updated at 10:11 GMT, Monday, 16 March 2009

Charity 'sorry' for letter error

Caterham hospice
The Caterham hospice will close in March

A cancer charity has apologised after it sent letters addressed to 22 hospice patients who had died.

Marie Curie Cancer Care hospice in Caterham, Surrey, will close this month but all staff are being redeployed.

The charity sent 200 letters informing family members that bereavement counselling would continue, including 22 addressed to patients who had died.

A spokeswoman said a computer error had caused the problem and the charity "deeply regretted" its mistake.

Richard Holloway, who has been campaigning against the closure of the Caterham hospice, in Harestone Drive, said people had been very upset by the letters.

New site

He added: "I was contacted by a distraught lady whose husband had been cared for by the local Marie Curie Services and who had died seven months ago.

"The Marie Curie HQ sent a letter addressed to her deceased husband informing him of the switchover."

Susan Munroe, director of patient and nursing services at Marie Curie Cancer Care, said: "We deeply regret the error that led to letters regarding the transfer of bereavement services from our hospice at Caterham to be sent to deceased patients and not their carers.

"As soon as we realised the mistake we apologised to all concerned."

Following the closure of the Harestone Drive building, St Catherine's Hospice, based in Crawley, Sussex, will open a new site at Dormers Care Home in Foxton Lane, Caterham.

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