Sefton Central MP, Bill Esterson said that Woodlands Hospice deserve the gratitude of everyone in Sefton and Liverpool for the support they give to people who are terminally ill and their families.
Mr Esterson met Woodlands Chief Executive, Rose Milnes and trustee Barry Bartlett to discuss the work of the hospice.
Mrs Milnes explained that many younger people are now being cared for at Woodlands. She also told Bill Esterson that older people are coming to the hospice in crisis more often than in previous years as a result of cuts in social care by the government.
Bill Esterson MP said, “Woodlands Hospice staff all work extremely hard. They look after people at the end of their lives. I was really impressed by what Rose Milnes told me about the latest work being done by her team. As more younger people, sadly need hospice care, more children need support. Rose told me about an 11 year old and the support that the hospice is able to give through counselling. And thanks to MacMillan, Woodlands has been able to recruit a family support worker to help. Rose also told me about the important of support for carers. When my mum was nearing the end of her life, my dad cared for her and I know from the experience in my family, just how tough it can be for carers.
“But there have also been new challenges for Woodlands. This is the result of having so many more people aged 41-64, who need hospice care. This is one result of less support being available from social services because younger people would like to go from hospice but it has become harder for their wishes to be granted because the care cannot be put in place. Conversely, older people, ie those 65 and older are coming to Woodlands hospice in far greater crisis than in previous years and stays by elderly people are in contrast shorter than they used to be. Again, this is because of less support from social services. To be quite clear, staff in social services are doing what they can, but the Conservatives have cut £4.6 billion from social services and what is happening at Woodlands, just like the increase in numbers at A&E, is a direct result of the cuts made by the government.
“Overall, the average length of stay has increased from 14-16 days to 18 days, which puts additional pressure onto the staff and leaves fewer places available for new patients.”
Rose Milnes asked a simple question. She said, “Why are we seeing people at end of life in crisis, rather than earlier so we can do more to smooth the way for them and their families?”
Bill Esterson MP said, “I thought Rose asked the right question. She and her team want to make end of life as comforting for those who are terminally ill and for their families. When this is becoming harder, it is very distressing for families and those nearing end of life. It is very worrying that so many people are unable to receive the care they really want at home. Of course it is a tribute to the wonderful staff and volunteers at Woodlands that hospice care is available. But until recently, care was also available at home. The cuts in social care are causing a real problem including for end of life care and people need to understand the consequences of what is happening as a result of decisions taken by this government.”
“I know that Rose Milnes and her team will continue to do all they can to look after people but they need our help. So while I will press the government about what is happening to people in our community and their families, everyone here can help. I would therefore encourage you to support Woodlands Hospice at their shop in Maghull or by giving donations to the hospice directly.”
You can donate to Woodlands Hospice online https://www.woodlandshospice.org/donate-online
Bill Esterson MP is pictured with Woodlands Hospice, Chief Executive, Rose Milnes and Trustee Barry Bartlett