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GP surgeries build up network to support end-of-life care

Three GP surgeries in Derry have joined forces with a hospice to trial a £70,000 ‘compassionate community’ project, which involves building up a network of volunteers to help people needing end-of-life care or palliative care.

GPs from Waterside Health Centre are working with Foyle Hospice, Caw and Nelson Drive Action Group and Hillcrest House Community Centre in the project, which should help patients to stay in their communities and to die at home if they wish.

The project has £70,000 funding from Western Local Commissioning Group, and much of the money has gone on a project facilitator and a staff member to co-ordinate the ‘hospice neighbours’ volunteers.

These volunteers will give emotional support to people nearing the end of their lives or help with jobs such as cutting the lawn, cleaning or shopping.

They will also raise awareness of the importance in their community of helping people who are nearing the end of their lives.

Western Local Commissioning Group chair Dr Ciaran Mullan said: ‘We are delighted to invest in the compassionate communities project. End-of-life care is everyone’s responsibility and this pilot will ensure that people approaching the end of their lives will get the care and support they need from within their own community.’

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