Hospice starts phone helpline

A GROUND-BREAKING new 24-hour helpline offering specialist health advice has been launched at a Suffolk hospice.

St Elizabeth Hospice is among the first in the country to set up a helpline which reaches out directly to the general public as well as healthcare professionals on the subject of palliative and supportive care.

The public, patients, relatives, carers, GPs, nurses and other medical professionals and care workers from east Suffolk can get free expert advice at the end of the phone – even in the middle of the night – from senior registered nurses, seven days a week.

Hospice chief executive Jane Petit said the line, known as OneCall and the first of its kind in East Anglia, was there to support anyone who needed information at any time.

“When in the midst of difficult times such as coping with an illness or caring for a loved-one, it is important all members of the community have quick and easy access to appropriate support and the correct facts.


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“Having one phone number for anyone who wants advice or information about our Hospice and palliative care issues will help us to reach out to the whole community. Whether it be a patient facing a new symptom, a carer worried about giving the correct dosage of pain relief or a doctor with a query, OneCall is there to support everyone.”

St Elizabeth Hospice’s Partnership Group chairman Peter Espley, who cared for his wife Sheila before she died of cancer in 2005, aged 56, said the new line would give people comfort and reassurance.

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“We often felt frightened and very alone,” he said. “Once Sheila started being cared for by St Elizabeth Hospice it was a relief to know there was somebody available who understood and knew what to do. The new OneCall helpline will give people a great deal of comfort and reassurance.”

The OneCall helpline number is 0800 567 0111 -and calls are free from a BT landline.

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