600 calls and visits to terminally ill

The Marie Curie Hospice, Belfast.
The Marie Curie Hospice, Belfast.

More than 600 calls and home visits have been made to people living with a terminal illness during the first three months of 2015 as a result of a significant investment in the Marie Curie Rapid Response Service.

Dean Sullivan of the Health and Social Care Board said: “This new enhanced service strengthens the service already provided by GP Out of Hours.

“And it increases access to palliative care services at home.

“It minimises the need for patients to be transferred at the end of life by ambulance to emergency departments, giving peace of mind to loved ones at a stressful time.

“Investment in this service aligns with the work under the Transforming Your Palliative and End of Life Care initiative and we are delighted to be able to partner with Marie Curie in delivering this.”

Paula Heneghan, regional manager, Marie Curie Nursing Service said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to partner with the Health and Social Care Board, the Public Health Agency and the GP Out of Hours Service, and to be in a position to provide a Marie Curie tailored rapid response service.

“Our new pilot service will not only provide those living with a terminal illness greater access to Marie Curie services, but will also help extend the existing GP Out of Hours service in key areas across Northern Ireland.

“We know from research that patients with a terminal illness prefer to be treated away from hospital, and where possible, in their own homes. The Marie Curie rapid response service allows us to meet this need head-on, ensuring patients receive care where they want it and when they need it.”

Marie Curie Rapid Response is a tried and tested service which has been running successfully in the evenings, on a week day basis in the Southern and Northern Trust areas since 2008.