‘I’m desperate to get home’ says terminally-ill Fife woman

Anne Gourlay.
Anne Gourlay.

A Newport-on-Tay woman with terminal cancer has been forced to stay in hospital for the last year after her home care package was axed.

Anne Gourlay (57) was diagnosed with sepsis and chronic lymphatic leukaemia six years ago and until last year she was cared for at home thanks to a 24/7 nursing care package provided by an agency.

She has since been told that neither palliative radiotherapy or chemotherapy is appropriate, and was dealt a further blow when her nursing package was stopped, after she was admitted to Ninewells.

In January, Ms Gourlay was moved to Adamson Hospital only to be told the maximum amount of care she could receive from the existing care team would be 15 hours per week.

The shortfall could be made up by another agency, but due to recruitment issues it has, so far, not managed to find anyone to help.

This cut makes living at home on her own impossible and even if Ms Gourlay remains in hospital, the time provided would be too short for her to deal with any necessary tasks at home.

“I have been in hospital for over a year and am desperate to get home,” she said. “I was all set to return when my 24/7 care package was stopped.

“A solution would be to send me home with the existing agency and allow time to recruit the staff while I’m at home. This would immediately free this hospital bed for a patient who needs it and I could be at home enjoying life outside of hospital. Time is not on my side, so every day is a gift.”

North East Fife MP Stephen Gethins has backed her efforts to get home.

He said: “Ms Gourlay deserves the dignity of being allowed home where she will have some independence and control of her life. She is not someone who wants to be taking up a hospital bed and it is important that a solution can be found to this situation as soon as possible.”

Director of Fife Health and Social Care Partnership Michael Kellet said: “Fife’s Health and Social Care Partnership is committed to working in partnership with Ms Gourlay.

“There have been ongoing discussions regarding the various options available to support Ms Gourlay to leave hospital. Every effort is being made to support Ms Gourlay, respecting her individual choices regarding options available whilst also taking into account her complex needs. These efforts are continuing in order to identify a solution which maximises Ms Gourlay’s independence and quality of life.”