Demelza's hospice will be first to co-exist with NHS services

Indira Das-Gupta

Demelza House is planning to build the first children's hospice to work alongside existing NHS services on Primary Care Trust land.

The charity has just been granted planning permission for the site in Eltham, south London, which is owned by Greenwich PCT. Subject to approval from its trustees, it is planning to launch a fundraising campaign in the new year.

Demelza also hopes to develop a purpose-built facility on site to train nurses in paediatric palliative care. There are currently only a limited number of training opportunities in this field, and it is hoped the centre will help fill the gap.

Although other charities have previously built on redundant NHS land, it will be the first time voluntary sector and NHS services have co-existed in this way.

James Hanway, head of fundraising at Demelza, said: "We have built up a good relationship with Greenwich PCT and believe that more joined-up working can only be a good thing."

The hospice will provide residential short breaks for children in a six-bed unit, together with accommodation for families staying with their children. It will offer 'hospice-at-home' services and daycare so families can leave their children with professional carers.

The new hospice will serve the London boroughs of Greenwich, Lewisham, Bromley, Lambeth and Southwark.

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