Empty wards in a Fenland hospital could be converted into a hospice under a new idea by MP Steve Barclay.
Mr Barclay is calling for a hospice to be created in a former ward within North Cambs Hospital to allow terminally ill patients in Fenland to die close to their families.
The former Rowan Lodge and Parkside units are languishing at the hospital while the only hospices currently available to Fenland people are in Peterborough or Snettisham.
Just four of the 470 Wisbech patients who died in 2012 and 2013 were able to pass away in a hospice, with the majority dying in a hospital.
The idea was raised during a meeting at Clarkson Surgery last week as part of the MP’s bid to bring more health services to Fenland under his Treat Me Local campaign.
Mr Barclay said: “How we care for people at the end of their lives is extremely important to us as a society.
“It is something which affects all of us one day and it is a traumatic time for families and we have to ensure that they have an environment that is supportive.”
The idea has received the backing of Eileen Platter, who is chairman of the Friends of Wisbech Hospital.
She said: “I think this is a good idea. I would support this plan rather than the units remain empty.
“I think this is something Wisbech needs as there is no hospice service anywhere in Wisbech.”
Mr Barclay has a 10-point wish-list of improvements he wants to see for Fenland’s healthcare provision.
These include the creation of satellite units for chemotherapy treatment, the introduction of blood testing machines in doctors’ surgeries to cut unnecessary trips to hospitals, an extension of the opening hours at the Minor Injuries Units in both the Doddington and North Cambs Hospitals, and a central point of contact for dementia carers.
Local residents have highlighted the need for treatment closer to home with stories of their own experiences and more than 800 people have signed an on-line petition.
Mr Barclay aims to raise the issue of more localised healthcare provision for Fenland in the House of Commons and will be using the petition as a basis for that when Parliament reconvenes this autumn.
“I have been absolutely delighted with the amount of support the campaign has received, but obviously the more people, businesses and organisations that sign up the better,” said Mr Barclay.
To sign up for the Treat Me Local health campaign visit the website : www.treatmelocal.net