Hospice to double patient numbers

A MAJOR refurbishment of a Harrogate hospice is under way which it is hoped will double the number of patients it cares for to 2,400.

The overhaul of the inpatient unit at Saint Michael's Hospice, is being funded by a 296,000 grant from the Department of Health and will include widespread improvements to patient and staff facilities.

Tony Collins, chief executive of the hospice, says the work is part of a five year strategy to double the number of people it cares for by 2012.

He said: We are caring for more and more people with illnesses other than cancer or with complex symptoms or high levels of dependence.

This means we must continually strive to improve our facilities to better meet their changing needs.

"Our greatest challenge to achieving this is our building, which was never built as a hospice.

"This grant is enabling us to tackle some of these building inadequacies, although it will not solve them all."

The work is due to be completed by the end of March 2011.

The hospice says all its services will continue to operate as normal and staff are working to keep disruption to a minimum.