Our Trustees, NHS specialists and the Priscilla Bacon Lodge Support Group have taken feedback from patients and their families about the changes and improvements they need in palliative care. Using this information, we have consulted closely with our NHS partners in drawing up our plans, which are in line with national and regional health strategy.
In partnership with the NHS, we have agreed that there is an undeniable need to expand and improve the current specialist palliative care provision, to meet the needs of Norfolk people; now and in the future.
The appeal campaign was launched in February 2019. The fundraising campaign is multi-faceted and will seek donations from trusts, individuals, businesses and community fundraising initiatives.
At the point of launch, we had £3m given or pledged. This included a donation of £1m from The Priscilla Bacon Lodge Support Group and substantial support from local trusts, charities and individuals.
By December 2019, over £5m had been raised. As at October 2021, we have raised over £10m.
The charity does not own the current Priscilla Bacon Lodge site, which also houses other NHS services and it is not possible to expand the hospice services at the current location. Additionally, the building itself is limited on space and although families and friends have the opportunity to stay, more family rooms are required to provide privacy, dignity and quiet reflective time.
Demands are growing and all patients that require palliative and end-of-life care and have complex symptoms should have the chance of a bed. This includes patients with cancer, long term conditions such as heart failure, and neurological disorders.
The current Priscilla Bacon Lodge offers only 16 beds, which work at a 92-96% capacity; unlike most other hospices that average 78.5%. A new facility offers much greater benefits in terms of what it can provide patients and their families.
Raising £12.5m will allow us to build, equip and commission our new dedicated 24 bed inpatient unit within a purpose-built building. The Priscilla Bacon Hospice staff will then be able to help those in need, no matter what stage they are at. The building will also have the ability to expand and offer more beds as the Norfolk population increases further.
We are aiming to deliver a facility for Norfolk people that is capable of dealing with their growing needs now and into the future; not just within the hospice itself, but within the community too. Research is always ongoing and treatments are always being updated. We want to make sure that Norfolk has the specialist equipment and facilities to allow professionals to deal with the widest possible variety of complex illnesses. The provision of specialist care comes at a high cost.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the population of Norfolk has increased from 600,000 to more than 880,000 since the 1970s and is ageing. Research has shown that during this decade, the UK will see a further dramatic increase in the number of older people. Existing facilities do not cover the number of specialist beds required, nor does the available community support have the capacity to cope. This situation is only likely to worsen if significant action is not taken.
The new Priscilla Bacon Hospice will offer more bed space and be the hub from which outreach work across the county will be coordinated; also providing support for other services in the county. It will also be the only hospice to have its specialist services delivered by the NHS.