PLANS have been unveiled for a new hospice in Winchester.

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust wants to convert the currently unused Burrell House – on the site of Royal Hampshire County Hospital – into a 10-bed hospice, supporting patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families.

With no hospice currently situated in the city, the facility aims to open its doors by early 2019.

There will be services both on site and in the community including a hospice at home service to support patients who wish to remain at home in the last few weeks of their life, inpatient beds with ensuite facilities and a space for day therapy and outpatient facilities.

More than £2.5 million is needed to refurbish Burrell House which the Trust hopes to raise through a fundraising campaign.

A Trust spokesman confirmed to the Chronicle that they were unable to say at present how many jobs the hospice would create but that it would be run by Hampshire Hospitals and 30% of ongoing costs would be from charitable funds.

This will be used for “additional staffing and services that the NHS cannot provide, complementary therapies for example, as well to maintain and improve the environment for patients.”

Dr Stephanie Killick, clinical lead for end of life care at Hampshire Hospitals, who will be lead consultant at the brand new hospice, said: “We are really looking forward to being able to provide hospice-based end of life care in Winchester.

“Following the successful model which the Trust runs from The Countess of Brecknock Hospice in Andover, Winchester Hospice will empower more patients to live as well as possible, for as long as possible.”

Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are really excited about creating a new hospice in Winchester.

“We think it will make a really positive difference in the local community, helping both patients and their families during what is always a very difficult time.

“Our staff at the Countess of Brecknock Hospice already provide outstanding care for patients with life limiting conditions, but we recognise that Andover is a long way for patients and their families living in Winchester and the surrounding area to travel. By creating this new hospice in Winchester and continuing with the plans to expand the Countess of Brecknock Hospice, we can ensure that even more people are able to access these valuable services.

“I’d like to thank everybody who has already committed to helping us make a difference in the local community through Winchester Hospice.”

Winchester City Council leader councillor Caroline Horrill said: “This is exciting news and I am hopeful that the plans by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will come to fruition.

“If Burrell House were to be successfully converted into a hospice it means people can see loved ones without the added stress and cost of making a journey outside the city. I will be keeping a close eye on the campaign and hope that the funds can be found for a project which will make a huge difference.”

More information about the hospice will be given at a free Health Focus talk being held at Guildhall Winchester on November 28 at 6.30pm, when the palliative care team and executives from the Trust will speak about end of life care and plans for the new hospice and the forthcoming launch of a fundraising campaign.