The creation of the Margaret Kerr Unit at Border’s General Hospital in Melrose, Scotland, will greatly improve the opportunities for specialist care at the hospital.
John Raine, NHS Borders Chair, said:
“NHS Borders aims to deliver high quality health care at the right time and in the most appropriate way and this new Palliative Care Specialist Inpatient Unit will enable us to do this.”
Palliative Care is the term used to describe the care that is given when a cure is not possible. Although usually associated with the later stages of cancer, it is now established that palliative care should also be a routine part of care for those suffering from a wide variety of non-malignant conditions, such as dementia, heart failure, Huntington’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease among others.
At present this care is given within a standard ward at Border’s General Hospital which is far from ideal in terms of the environment required by the multi-disciplinary palliative care team. The project will also incorporate the refurbishment of the Stroke Unit, which is currently co-located with palliative care in Ward 11.
Work began in Spring 2012, with the opening of the Specialist Palliative Care Unit and redeveloped Stroke Unit scheduled for the first half of 2013. The main contractor is BAM and the architect is Aitken Turnbull Architects Limited.
The new unit will be created by remodeling and extending one end of an existing ward building. The new unit will have its own entrance with adjacent landscaping and car parking, while also retaining an essential link into the main body of the hospital. There will be en-suite patient rooms, as well as clinical areas, day rooms and accommodation for relatives. The aim of the new unit is to create a comfortable, welcoming and peaceful building for everyone.
A significant proportion of the funding for the project came from the legacy left by Miss Margaret Kerr – a nurse who lived in the Borders – and NHS Borders Board have agreed to name the new building ‘The Margaret Kerr Unit’.
In addition, substantial sums have already been secured from a number of partners, charitable trusts and individuals, including the Robertson Trust, Macmillan Cancer Support, the WRVS, the Friends of the Borders General Hospital, Callum’s Trust and The Lavender Touch. The remaining sum will be raised through a local fundraising appeal.
John Raine said:
“It is an important step forward in providing local and quality health care that meets the needs of the people of the Borders and will make a huge difference in the lives of patients, and also their families, who will receive care and support from this unit.”