A NEW service helping transform the way care is provided to those with a terminal illness has been launched in Herefordshire.

The Herefordshire Hospice at Home service, funded by Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, sees St Michael's Hospice and Marie Curie team up to help those with a terminal illness to be cared for in their own home, care home or hospice.

They will benefit from Marie Curie nurses providing hands on nursing care and support day and night, while senior nurses at St Michael's will be available on call around the clock, including out of hours, to provide urgent care and assessment, when needed.

It is hoped that the new service will help reduce unnecessary emergency admissions to hospitals, and the time spent in hospital, when people don't need or want to be there.

One of the first families to benefit is Haydn Robinson from Ross-on-Wye and his 86-year-old, father Derrick.

Mr Robinson has been looking after his father for the past 12 months after he was diagnosed with kidney cancer. By February, sadly, he couldn't walk anymore.

"I honestly didn't know what to do," said Mr Robinson.

"Dad has always been independent, and I was worried about having a conversation with him about having to go into a home. Then dad's doctor told me he could stay at home with this new service."

He said the care was initiated by a referral to the Hospice at Home Co-ordination Hub at St Michael's.

"Within a few hours, the Hub Team had arranged for nurses and health care assistants to visit dad four times a day and provide overnight care for the first two nights," he said.

"Dad is getting on famously with his nurses. They are wonderful but most of all it means Dad still has some control over his life and I don't think he would get better care anywhere else. I can't thank them enough."

A new hub based at Bartestree-based St Michael's will co-ordinate the care across Herefordshire, providing a new 24-hour, seven day a week advice and support line for patients, those close to them and the professionals who support them.