HAVENS hospices told how patients are dying while they wait up to a month for a bed because its current building is just too small.

Hospice bosses say this is exactly why they need to build a new £15million hospice, as soon as possible, on green belt land in Leigh.

Campaigners and Southend Council, which turned down an application last October to build the hospice on land off Belton Way West, say a brownfield site must be found, but the hospice charity claims none are suitable.

Catherine Wood, head of patient services at Havens, said: “It’s not just every now and then that we have to tell a patient in desperate need of a bed that we don’t have one available - it’s on a daily basis.

“The amount of distress that causes, not only to the patient but their loved ones too, is immeasurable.

“Last week we were finally able to offer a bed to a patient who had been on the waiting list for 31 days.

“This week alone, three patients in need of our care died whilst waiting for a bed and another two over the weekend.

“The demand on our services is putting immense pressure on what we’re able to provide. We are in an urgent situation and I can’t imagine what would happen if we just sat back and did nothing to address that.”

The charity must now convince planning inspector Richard Clegg at a forthcoming public inquiry, to start on June 18, that the need for a new facility is strong enough to justify building on green belt land