PLANS for a new hospice based at Winchester’s hospital were under discussion for the first time at the launch of its fundraising campaign.

A 10-bed hospice to support patients with terminal illnesses and their families is in the pipeline, with the unused Burrell House next to Royal Hampshire County Hospital set to be refurbished.

The hospital’s palliative care team and Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust executives were on hand at a Health Focus talk at the Guildhall to answer questions and launch the campaign to raise more than £2.5m for the building work.

With no hospice in the city, the facility aims to open by early 2019, although the ongoing costs of running the facility are still under discussion.

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 outpatients.

The centre will be run by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust with 30 per cent of ongoing costs coming from charitable funds.

Dr Stephanie Killick, clinical lead for end of life care, said: “When patients are unwell, what is important to them is being close to their family and close to their home.

“We really can create something that is great and a lasting legacy for Winchester.”

She went on to list the advantages of a Winchester-based hospice, which include the good public transport, it being closer for residents and families currently only able to use The Countess of Brecknock Hospice in Andover and continuity of care with the RHCH.

It was also confirmed at the talk on Tuesday, attended by around 50 people, that the hospice will care only for adults, not children in order to avoid the duplication of services.

Medical director Dr Lara Alloway said: “Naomi House and Jacksplace do a fantastic job at that. However what we will be doing is supporting the relatives. It is about filling gaps rather than repeating services.”

Other questions asked were whether 10 beds would be enough due to a rapidly ageing population, as well as parking.

Dr Alloway said: “It is a place to start. It will be a hub for hospice services, it is not just about the rooms. We would envisage the building to be the face and hub for the palliative care on offer.

“We know parking is a really important so this is within the specification for the architect to look at.”

Winchester City Council leader Cllr Caroline Horrill said: “It’s a super idea and it’s a really exciting opportunity to have such a facility in Winchester.”