PATIENTS who are palliative or at end of life in Wigan Borough can access they support they need more easily thanks to a new initiative.

The WHISPAR* project is a collaboration between Wigan and Leigh Hospice, the hospital, GPs and District Nursing to streamline access to palliative care and provide one point of contact for patients.

The most effective change has been the introduction of daily meetings involving the above services. At the meetings patients requiring support that day are prioritised and referrals are triaged.

One point of contact

Hospice Clinical Director Vicki McLoughlin led the project. She said: “We launched this pilot because people who need palliative and end of life care want one point of contact for their healthcare needs. It is so much simpler than having to contact various organisations to get the support they need.

“In addition, the daily meetings mean those patients who need immediate support can be directed to the right service on the same day.

“Already the number of referrals to our Hospice in your Home service is increasing and staff are reporting that patients are benefitting.


“Previously, patients may have received multiple visits from various teams in one day, but now we have all that expertise together in one room and can ensure the most appropriate service visits patients. Patients are also getting more time with the visiting healthcare professional. Daily communication between services also means we can get plans in place more efficiently for someone at end of life who is being discharged from hospital to home.”

One nurse from our Hospice in your Home team, which visits patients at home, said: “A family we visited was so grateful as their dad was fast-tracked home after a few weeks in hospital.

“There was no care package in place but we were able to attend to him three times daily due to the service being in place. He sadly passed away but the family could not thank us enough that they could have their father home.”

The aims of WHISPAR are:

  • Provide a single point of contact for all borough residents with a palliative care diagnosis
  • Respond to deteriorating patients seven days per week
  • Discuss patient preferences and choices for end of life care
  • Quickly identify the right service for each patient
  • Signpost family and carers to additional information and support.

WHISPAR is a pilot project. Once the project is evaluated it is hoped that long-term funding will be secured.
In the meantime, the hope is to extend WHISPAR to involve more services which care for patients in our Borough who are palliative or at end of life.

*Wigan Healthier partnership Integrated Specialist Palliative Care Active Response