Hundreds of people in Gloucestershire with conditions other than cancer are missing out on specialist care

A national report by the London School of Economics and Political Science show that heart disease, respiratory illness and dementia account for considerably more deaths per year in the UK than cancer, but only 20 per cent of referrals for palliative care were for non-cancer conditions in 2013.

It is the same in Gloucestershire with heart disease, respiratory illness and cancer claiming the most lives, but the majority of people Longfield (formerly Cotswold Care Hospice) supports have cancer.

Last year the charity supported 600 people. Research undertaken by Longfield shows that there are, on average, an additional 2,000 people in the county who could benefit from its specialist services every year.

“Longfield has seen significant growth in the needs for its services over the past five years. We have ambitious plans to take our services across the county, to enable more people to access our support,” says Andrew Fletcher, the charity¹s new chief executive.

As part of that plan the charity is changing its name to Longfield –  the name of the original house bought to set up the hospice.

Mr Fletcher says the charity plays an important role in the well-being of the county.

“Our services complement NHS primary care treatment and support the family as well as the patient,” he says. “We want to enable people to have greater control and choice about their care.”

Longfield is launching a community based Art for Health service, developing a fatigue management programme and expanding its bereavement counselling and day therapy services in the community. It will also develop its existing services at its Minchinhampton centre.

Following extensive research the charity has changed its identity to better reflect the full range of services it offers and to address the apprehension people sometimes feel about hospices.

“Our Hospice at Home service is and continues to be one of our vitally important services for our community. It is, though, only one of several important services we provide,” said Mr Fletcher.

“We wanted an identity that better reflects all that we do to enable people to live well with their illness, from the time a patient is diagnosed."