ST Luke’s Hospice has taken a major step towards redeveloping part of its premises at Whirlow.
Plans have been submitted to the council to extend and refurbish buildings off Little Common Lane to provide better patient care and to improve operational efficiency.
The focus is on making better use of the existing site after proposals to build a new hospice at the old Bluestones School near Norfolk Park were dropped. Previously there had been widespread opposition to using Norton Nurseries next to Graves Park.
The planning application seeks permission for the demolition of an administrative building, allowing for an extension to and refurbishment of the existing in-patient unit, creating 14 single rooms with en suite facilities and two triple occupancy rooms.
Chief executive Peter Hartland said: “Our intention is to provide the optimum configuration both for patient care and operational efficiency. Single rooms give dignity and privacy for both patients and their families and they also help in areas such as infection control.
“We have already held consultation events for our neighbours and they know of our intentions so that, even at this very early stage, we have an awareness of any potential issues.”
St Luke’s, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, depends on supporters for much of its income and has been hit hard by the recession, with falling property values reducing the value of legacies and low interest rates reducing income from investments. Funding from NHS Sheffield has also fallen.
In the harsh economic climate, redeveloping Little Common Lane has been described as the “only sound option” to improve services to patients, families and carers, which remain free.