Essex: Improved service for end-of-life patients in north Essex launched

Health professionals launch SinglePoint advice line

Health professionals launch SinglePoint advice line - Credit: Archant

Health organisations in north Essex have come together to offer an improved service for people who require end-of-life care.

The new service, called SinglePoint, includes the development of a single, centralised online register for patients who are in the last year of their life, so that there is only one source of information on each individual patient that is accessed by staff responsible for their care, such as the GP, the ambulance service, community nurses and hospice carers. The initiative is intended to improve the co-ordination of care and support for patients and their families and also facilitate more choice, so that patients at the end of their life can choose to stay at home or go into hospital.

In addition, a new telephone advice line has been launched, to enable palliative care patients to access support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A rapid response element to the phone service is also due to be launched in November, specifically for patients in the last three months of their life.

The improvements come out of a working group representing North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (NEECCG), Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, Anglian Community Enterprise as well as St Helena Hospice, which will host the online register and phone service from its site at Highwoods in Colchester.

According to Ray Wilson, director of patient and family services at the hospice, the group has been working on developing the service for more than two years.

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He said: “Members of the working group have worked closely to ensure a collaborative service with the patient at its core.

“The service is jointly funded by the local NHS and St Helena Hospice. Without our financial contribution, such an ambitious and comprehensive service would not have been possible.

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“We believe the new service is a great example of the added benefit the charity and voluntary sector can bring working with the NHS.”

Dr James Hickling, medical director at NEECCG, added: “The service should help patients to get the right support and care at the right time and in the right place.

“I believe our investment, together with that of St Helena Hospice, will allow people more choice and dignity at the end of their lives, and will enable health services to do a better job of supporting each person.”

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