LEADING cancer charity Macmillan Cancer Support is investing £750,000 in a new specialist palliative care unit at Borders General Hospital.
This unit will be the first of its kind in the region, offering specialist palliative care and emotional support to people with incurable cancer and other life limiting conditions.
The £4.5 million purpose built facility is the result of a partnership between NHS Borders and others, including Macmillan Cancer Support, as well as the Margaret Kerr Charitable Trust and the Robertson Trust.
Elspeth Atkinson, Macmillan’s director for Scotland, said the unit will make an “enormous difference” to cancer patients in the Borders with palliative care needs, and their families.
“It is thanks to the hard work and dedication of our supporters in the Borders who raise so much money for us that we are able to make such a significant contribution to this important project,” Ms Atkinson said.
The existing In-patient palliative care service at the BGH is situated in a hospital ward, and is not specifically designed for this purpose.
The new facility will improve specialist palliative and end of life care for the people in the area. It will be named The Margaret Kerr Unit in recognition of a Borders nurse who left a significant legacy intended for the creation of this facility.
In the Borders, Macmillan provides information and support services to people affected by cancer, as well as nursing expertise, benefits and financial advice.
Macmillan’s Borders area fundraising manager Jan Forrest said: “We are only able to do so much locally thanks to the amazing efforts of our supporters here. We are now appealing for people to continue to support us, perhaps by organising a fundraising event for the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning in September.”
NHS Borders medical director Dr Ross Cameron, added: “I am pleased we can now take forward plans for this facility, which will enable our skilled multi-disciplinary palliative care team to deliver more appropriate and high quality care and support to patients and their families.
“We have worked hard to identify the most suitable solution to improve the environment for palliative care and stroke patients within the BGH and to address these challenges.
“Significant developments in fundraising have also created the potential for us to deliver an innovative and inspiring facility that will greatly improve patient care.
“The creation of the Margaret Kerr Unit will be made possible by securing charitable support to cover the capital costs.”