Revamp hopes at city hospice

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SHEFFIELD’S only hospice has applied for planning permission to improve in-patient facilities - although the number of beds available will be cut.

St Luke’s Hospice, celebrating its 40th birthday this year, has applied to Sheffield Council to make a series of extensions and improvements to its existing site in Little Common Lane, Whirlow. The proposals follow the abandonment last September of plans to move to a new site at the former Bluestones School site in Norfolk Park which had been several years in the planning.

Instead the application is asking for planning permission to demolish an administrative building to allow for the refurbishment and extension of the existing in-patient unit.

The work would create 14 single rooms benefiting from en-suite facilities, along with two triple occupancy rooms.

It means the total number of beds available would be reduced to 20 from 24 - although the revamp should take the facility away from the more institutionalised hospital ward style of the current in-patient unit towards more of a ‘home from home’ feel.

The single-sex accommodation would increase efficiency since if a bed in a single occupancy room comes up the next person on the waiting list could also be brought in - whether they are male or female.

More focus is also expected to be put on providing care in the community through the specialist palliative care nursing team.

Chief executive Peter Hartland said: “Our intention is to provide the optimum configuration both for patient care and operational efficiency.

“Single rooms give dignity and privacy for both patients and their families and they also help in areas such as infection control.

“We have already held consultation events for our neighbours and they know of our intentions so that, even at this very early stage, we have an awareness of any potential issues.”

Last September the hospice was running at a £700,000 deficit and the change in direction was announced to further tackle the debts.

The relocation proposals attracted controversy in 2008. It was initially suggested the hospice might move to the Norton Nurseries corner of Graves Park. Then the Norfolk Park plan was agreed, but later scrapped.