FAMILIES and politicians have pledged to do everything they can to help to save inpatient care at St Mary’s Hospice.

The community of South Cumbria has collectively voiced shock and disbelief after St Mary’s Hospice announced it will no longer be accepting new inpatients after being unsuccessful in recruiting a specialist palliative doctor.

The relatives of some of the tens of thousands of patients helped by the hospice have been among those to express their dismay at the news.

St Mary’s Hospice is one of three charities supported by the fundraising efforts of friends and relatives of Jo Davies from Barrow who died in August 2015.

Her husband Matt said the care provided to her by the hospice prompted Jo to pick the charity, alongside Furness Oncology and the Eve Appeal, as one of three beneficiaries of Jo’s Appeal.

“The hospice were absolutely amazing with Jo and that’s why she decided it would be one of her chosen charities,” Mr Davies said.

“The care she got from them was phenomenal.

“We were fortunate that she was able to remain at home but hundreds of people every year don’t have that luxury and have to be cared for at the hospice’s inpatient unit.

“The service they provide is second-to-none and it would be devastating if the hospice was no longer able to accept inpatients and I hope a solution is found.”

Both Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock and Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron have vowed to help the hospice to search for a solution.

Mr Woodcock said: “The news that St Mary’s Hospice will no longer be taking inpatient admissions is obviously very concerning and I hope that we can all work together in the coming weeks and months to do everything we can to restore full services.

“Let’s heed the hospice’s plea to treat this as business as usual and keep up the amazing, generous local spirit that helps fund the hospice and allows them to carry out their important work.

“It is good to hear St Mary’s will be expanding outpatient services in the meantime and I hope to meet the chief executive in the next few days to see if there are ways I can support them to overcome this recruitment issue.”

Mr Farron said: “This is terribly sad news that will have a huge impact on patients and their families.

“I will be speaking with the Hospice to do what I can to help them explore every possible avenue to finding a doctor so that patients are given the care they so desperately need.”

Mail readers have also been reacting to the news on Facebook.

Pamela Carr said: “So sad to hear this news let’s hope they will find someone soon. We need the hospice.”

Fiona Hanson said: “Terrible news, this is such a lovely welcoming and caring hospice, I hope they find someone very soon.”

Dianne Wallace said: “So sad to hear this. Terrible news. I do hope they can successfully recruit the staff they need.”

Joan Stewart said: “Dreadful news it does such a magnificent job in the community.”

Kerry Ann Burns said: “Such a shame. A fantastic place for families and loved ones at the end of life.”

Julie Silver This is heartbreaking news.”