BOSSES at a hospice have posted a lonely hearts ad and WLTM an experienced doctor who is WTR.

St Mary’s Hospice announced this week that they ‘would like to meet’ a senior palliative care doctor who is ‘willing to relocate’ ahead of an impending vacancy.

Chief executive Val Stangoe revealed the hospice will not be able to accept inpatients unless a new recruit can be found.

Traditional recruitment methods used since May to search for a replacement have failed to attract the right candidate and so hospice bosses have launched a social media campaign with a twist.

"We're desperately seeking a senior specialist doctor to come and lead our nine-bed inpatient unit," Mrs Stangoe said.

The hospice has posted a spoof lonely hearts ad on Twitter which has been retweeted hundreds of times.

Dying patients who would have been admitted to the hospice in Ulverston from mid-October will have to be cared for elsewhere.

Any patients in need of a bed will either have to go to Furness General Hospital or the nearest hospice - St John's in Lancaster.

St Mary’s cares for 1,350 people a year. Around 170 of those become inpatients while the others receive care from the Hospice at Home team.

The departing doctor is the most senior of three who, alongside 23 nurses and two GPs who give support at weekends, provide 24/7 care.

Dr David Wrigley, Cumbria representative of the British Medical Association, said: “For patients to be denied the right and proper care at the end of their lives because of staff shortages is untenable.

“Palliative care is absolutely vital for many terminally ill people.

"It is wholly unacceptable that at a time when patients and their families need the most comfort and care, the recruitment crisis in the NHS means they are being denied it, or at best being forced to receive alternative care further from home.”

The doctor needed at St Mary's Hospice must have five years' experience in palliative care.

Anyone who is interested can contact or call 01229 580305.