HOPE is on the horizon in the quest to fill a vital doctor role at a hospice which was forced to impose a temporary suspension of admissions.

Bosses at St Mary’s Hospice in Ulverston are setting dates to interview potential candidates this month to fill a senior palliative care position which will allow the hospice to admit inpatients again.

The hospice suspended admissions last month after they were unable to recruit a senior doctor role.

This meant the hospice would not have the medical expertise it needs to provide round-the-clock care to inpatients.

However, after an international recruitment campaign, the hospice feels ‘cautiously optimistic’ about the reopening of the inpatient unit.

Val Stangoe, St Mary’s chief executive said: “Patients who have complex symptoms or who need to be in a hospice at the end of life can often not be easily cared for by other local organisations.

“Delivering specialist palliative care needs doctors with very specific skills and experience and these doctors are increasingly hard to find.

“We are now at the point of setting dates for interviews for potential candidates towards the end of this month and we continue to feel cautiously optimistic about the reopening of the beds.”

Despite the temporary suspension of the unit, the hospice has been continuing to deliver a wide range of services across the area to help support the community, said Mrs Stangoe.

“While the Inpatient Unit has been temporarily suspended, "The clinical team have been able to increase the amount of care they give in our community,” she said.

“By adding nursing hours from our inpatient staff to the St Mary’s Hospice at Home team we’ve been able to deliver even more care in the comfort of people’s homes, including additional night sitting and respite care."

"We’ve also delivered more Living Well activities at our Living Well Centre on Duke Street in Barrow. We’re working hard to deliver integrated care alongside our fellow healthcare professionals so care is seamless for patients and their families. Your positive comments are a boost for staff and volunteers in a difficult situation and have supported them to continue to make those differences that matter most.”