FOUR new bedrooms at Bolton Hospice will open this October – meaning 88 more patients can be cared for there each year.

NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is to pay for a third of the medical, nursing and operational costs of opening four more beds at the Chorley New Road site.

Bolton Hospice, which was originally built in 1992, launched its ‘Building for the Future’ project in 2013.

This saw four new en-suite bedrooms created and seven of the existing 14 rooms extended and also given en-suite facilities.

A family overnight room, relocated pharmacy, multi-faith prayer and reflection room with washing facilities and spaces to support bereaved families were also built.

The £2 million project was paid for through a £510,000 NHS England grant, a Buy a Brick campaign which raised £255,000 from the public, £1.2 million of the hospice’s reserves and grant funding from other sources.

The money committed by the CCG means the four newly-built bedrooms can now open for good this October, with new nursing staff set to be recruited as soon as possible.

Judith Bromley, chair of Bolton Hospice, said: “We are delighted that Bolton CCG has agreed to fund a third of the medical and nursing costs to enable us to open four new beds at Bolton Hospice.

“This will mean that more local people can benefit from the specialist care and support provided on our inpatient unit.

“The other two thirds of the medical and nursing care costs and the other costs associated with operating additional beds such as catering, housekeeping and support for families will need to be generated through our own fundraising activities.

“So, the support of local people is more important to us than ever as we look forward to expanding our services for local people facing life-limiting illnesses and their families.”

The CCG said the decision came in response to the growing pressures health and care services have placed on an ageing population – and that it followed careful consideration by board members at “a time of constrained finances in the NHS”.

Chiefs said there was clear evidence of the hospice’s need for the additional four beds and said hospice care reduced the risk of unnecessary hospital admissions and avoided patients receiving care in an area further away from family and friends.

Dr Wirin Bhatiani, chair of the CCG, said: “I am pleased that NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group has been able to support Bolton Hospice in this way.

“Hospice care aims to support a patient’s wishes at the end of their life. Of course, this isn’t just about beds. Our hospice provides other services such as Hospice at Home, which is being used more and more.

“This supports our vision for healthcare in Bolton, which would see patients accessing more services closer to home and older people remaining independent and in their own homes for as long as possible.”