HOSPICE bosses have unveiled plans to expand space for its day care patients.

St Luke’s Hospice in Nethermayne, Basildon, is at capacity with treatment and activity rooms being used for multiple purposes so needs to expand.

However, with annual running costs of more than £3million, the team at St Luke’s have no spare cash to plough into updating their 20 year-old facilities.

They could soon be given a lifeline after applying for a government grant which would be used to build a two-storey day therapy annexe.

They Department of Health announced plans in May to invest £60million into hospice care across Britain through a grant programme.

St Lukes Hospice has submitted a planning application to Basildon Council to construct the 292 square metre building, but admit that work will only go ahead when they find out in March if their funding bid was successful.

Eileen Marshall, chief executive of the hospice, said: “There is a lot of competition for the funds so it’s still really early stages. The only way this will happen is if our bid is successful. We are already short of funds and struggling a bit financially at the moment.”

If given the go-ahead, the annexe would replace a portacabin which is currently used as temporary office accommodation.

Seven staff members who work out of the space will be transferred to the St Lukes House site in Lampitts Hill, Corringham.

The planned annexe would include a main activity room, two nurses offices, a library, physio facilities and two further offices which could provide space for informal help and support sessions.

A courtyard area, available to patients, visitors and staff members, would also be incorporated into the design.

St Luke’s claim that no additional patients will be taken on.

Mrs Marshall added: “We are very cramped at the moment. If we had the new building our physiotherapy, for example, would take place in a dedicated room rather than just wherever is available at that time.

“We are very keen on providing a comfortable space for our patients. At the moment we do a good job with the limited facilities we have. Having an additional day centre would allow us to enhance the services we offer.”