A HOSPICE is on course to open a £500,000 satellite unit that will create 15 jobs and provide vital end-of-life care for patients in isolated areas of north west Wales.
St David's Hospice plans to unveil the new four-bed inpatient complex in 2019, with building work set to start next April at a converted ward at Penrhos Stanley Community Hospital, Holyhead.
The opening will mark a year since the Llandudno facility was merged with Hospice at Home to form one charity covering Conwy, Gwynedd and Anglesey.
St David's is also exploring opportunities in south Gwynedd with the aim of further extending its footprint in the region, meaning patients and their families will not have to travel as far for a bed and access to first-class palliative care, symptom control and respite care.
They are also confident of achieving £1million income from their charity shops for the very first time and have a clear vision to put an end to the postcode lottery which means that some people in areas of Gwynedd and Anglesey cannot access inpatient hospice care.
As St David's Hospice prepares for its 20th anniversary in the Spring, Chief Executive Trystan Pritchard said the revamped organisation - which employs more than 150 staff - is laying firm foundations for the future.
"The merger only took place in April but already we have seen everyone come together with one thing in mind, to improve our service and extend the care we offer to communities in the west," said Mr Pritchard.
"Architects are currently working on designs to convert the ward into a satellite unit for the hospice before building work begins in the coming months.
"In Gwynedd and on Anglesey there are no inpatient hospice beds at present and we are going to change that."
St David's has been supported throughout by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, which provided them with the space. They also received a £450,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund.
The grant will help fund staff at the satellite unit for three years, including nurses and fundraising officers trained by the hospice's vastly experienced and skilled workforce.
Derek Preston-Hughes, Funding Manager at the Big Lottery, congratulated St David’s Hospice on their future plans.
“We were happy to support St David’s Hospice with a grant of £450,000, made possible thanks to players of the National Lottery,” he said.
“The project has been developed to respond to the wishes of the people who use it, they wanted a more local option and asked for the hospice to offer respite care and facilities for people to be near their loved ones – the planned unit delivers on these requests.
“Many local people volunteer for the hospice and it is clear it is important to the communities it serves. We are looking forward to seeing the unit up and running.”
Mr Pritchard added: “Opening in Holyhead will take our capacity to 17 beds, and we have one eye on finding a suitable location in south Gwynedd to increase that further.
"As the hospice approaches its 20th year we have a new vision but the same dedication to our communities.
"The warmth and goodwill we receive is extraordinary, which has been reflected by the record numbers of people visiting our shops across the region, and we are truly thankful for that support."
Those words were echoed by St David’s Hospice Matron, Glenys Sullivan, who believes too many people find it too difficult to access a hospice bed for vital end of life care.
“We want to deliver our services to as many people as possible so that people get control back over their lives and can exercise choice on the things that are important to them, including where they are cared for,” she said.
“St David’s will continue to work with and support the at-home service, which strives to give supportive and end of life care to patients in the comfort of their own home throughout Gwynedd and Mon.
Ms Sullivan added: “We will continue to work with our NHS and social care partners to offer our patients and their families a range of services, so they are able to make their choices on how they want to receive care and support at the end of their lives.
“Hospices make a huge contribution to their local communities and we are extremely grateful for the incredible level of support we receive form individuals, groups and businesses, which enables us to continue to care for local people when their needs are greatest.”
For more information, visit www.stdavidshospice.org.uk