Willow Burn Hospice

Willow Burn Hospice to Get Cancer Care Accreditation

Willow Burn Hospice is the first hospice across the county to achieve specialist accreditation for the top level of care it provides to people with cancer

Willow Burn Hospice has been awarded the prestigious Macmillan Quality Environment Mark (MQEM) in recognition of the quality experience cancer patients and their families receive at its care facility in Lanchester, near Consett.

It is one of just two hospices located within the NHS’ North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board to have gained the status. Along with Teesside Hospice. Valerie Richardson and Irene Mortimer are the founders of Willow Burn Hospice. Nearly 35 years ago they saw a gap in end-of-life and palliative care locally. A day service was set up following financial support from Macmillan Cancer Support.

Paul Jackson, Chair of the hospice, said:

“I am happy that Willow Burn has not only met but exceeded the level required to attain the Macmillan Quality Environment Mark. I have always been proud of the beautiful, caring environment we have created over the years. But to have that endorsed by Macmillan is really special. Particularly as it was the original funder of the hospice over 30 years ago.

“Of course, awards like this aren’t possible without the dedication of our staff and volunteers, and of course, Sir Tom Cowie and Helen McArdle CBE, who funded our Health and Wellbeing Centre and Hospice.

“I extend my sincere gratitude to everyone who has contributed. And those, who continue to contribute to the design of our hospice and the care we provide. We want to maintain the current environment and improve it and are currently refurbishing some of our service areas.”

Willow Burn Hospice provides end-of-life and palliative care for people with incurable illnesses from its purpose-built facility. Macmillan Cancer Support, in partnership with the Department of Health, developed the MQEM as the first national standard for cancer facilities across England. It focuses on designing, using, and managing built environments to support high-quality care. As well as improve the well-being of people affected by cancer.

To achieve the MQEM, care facilities need to prove they:

  • Are welcome and accessible to all
  • Respect the privacy and dignity of all users
  • Support the comfort and well-being of all users
  • Give users choice and control
  • Listen to the users’ voices

Assessors of Willow Burn determined:

“The hospice comfortably achieved compliance with the MQEM standards, scoring five in many of the requirements during the assessment.

“The assessors found the team at Willow Burn Hospice impressive for their innate understanding of the impact that a well-designed and utilised environment can have on patients and their families.

“The service clearly prioritises patients and families. They make every effort to ensure they feel at home in a comfortable and non-clinical environment.

Accepting the MQEM on behalf of Willow Burn Hospice is one of Paul’s last official duties as Chair of the board ahead of his retirement in November