I’ve known of the hospice for a number of years with the work I do as an MSP for Glasgow. Many families have been touched by their experience of the hospice.
In the past couple of years I’ve had a more intimate and personal connection. My uncle, who sadly passed away recently, was given great support, love, attention and care at the hospice in what was a very challenging time for him but also for the whole family.
Pancreatic cancer was a disease that ate away at him. To be in a place where he was given such individual treatment and care was a great load off the mind of not just him but everyone in the family. No-one wants to see a member of their family go through what my uncle had to. Having staff and an institution that is as caring as the hospice is just a wonderful thing. I think it’s a great blessing that the hospice was here for him.
My uncle was a traditional West of Scotland male. He would always say everything was OK with him and not to make a fuss. The hospice was great for him for pain management. Pancreatic cancer is a particularly painful condition for anyone to go through, but we always knew we would be able to pick up the phone to the hospice and the fantastic staff would always respond to him. Sometimes they would go out to him but often they would make a bed available to him in the hospice, even for a couple of nights to drain some fluid or give him the care and attention he needed.
The obstacles are that people don’t necessarily know what the hospice can do for them. People think it is there for complete end of life, the last few days someone might have on this earth. The hospice was there for my uncle throughout his journey, from pain management to many other things.
Raising awareness that the hospice is here for people, not just for those last few days or weeks, but throughout the journey a patient is on.
Glasgow is such a diverse and multicultural city that its institutions should reflect that. That was the case at the hospice. My uncle had particular dietary requirements, halal meat, for example. My uncle used to pray five times a day, as per the Islamic tradition. None of these things were a barrier for him at the hospice. In fact, if anything, it went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure he was accommodated.
Whatever your religious belief, your background or nationality, the hospice makes you feel welcome. You don’t feel like you’re burdening staff at all. Him coming here was a great load of our minds: he could feel comfortable her and in his own home. I noticed every time he was in the hospice the care and attention he got from the nurses and staff was exemplary.
Whatever community you come from the hospice is here for you. It’s here for this city and all the people of Glasgow. It doesn’t matter what your background or nationality is, this is your hospice.
I’ve been lucky in my work, as a member of the Scottish Parliament, to see the best of the medical profession, the best hospitals and health clinics in Europe are based here in Glasgow. My expectations of the hospice were really high from what I knew of it. Even with those high expectations, the expectations I had - the level of care he received was higher than that. It blew me away. What struck me was the personal attention he got and the fact that nothing ever felt too much.
So many small things can happen in a person’s journey through the medical treatment that can unfortunately set them back a little bit. All those small things were thought about and taken care of by the staff at the hospice. His journey was made that little bit easier, as was the family’s.
Nothing can ever replace the loss of a loved one and my uncle was just as dear to me as my own father. Knowing he was in a place that gave him that care, love and attention, and was really focusing on relieving him of his pain, gave us great comfort towards the end of his life.
Glasgow needs a new hospice. We have seen what they can do for somebody who is going through a difficult condition and illness. We know most families in Glasgow will have to go through this. Everyone at some time in their life is going to unfortunately lose someone close to them. That’s a sad fact and a sad reality. If anyone is ill and has a condition that is terminal, or needs pain management or pain relief, I couldn’t think of a better place for them to be than this hospice.
This is our hospice and we have to ensure it is fit and suitable and has enough room for the citizens of Glasgow. I’m delighted there is this move to build a new hospice in Bellahouston Park. It can only be done with funds, with money, with people’s generosity. Credit for the generosity thus far has helped to raise the many millions of pounds but there is still more to be done.
I’ll certainly be doing what I can throughout the year to raise money and my family and I have committed to do that. We will be digging into our own pockets and encourage everyone, through your friends, family, those you work with, whether you have had experience of the hospice or not, it is here for the citizens of this wonderful city and it going to help so many people at an incredibly difficult time.
If I can encourage people to be as generous as they possibly can: the hospice is our hospice. Let’s get right behind it and support it.