600 MORE cancer patients will be helped to stay at home in Glasgow and avoid going back into care thanks to the extension of a new service.

The Marie Curie Fast Track Service will now cover the Queen Elizabeth hospital and help the patients stay at home surrounded by loved ones at the end of their life.

The service, which was launched in 2012 in the north east of the city, aims to identify those at risk of being re-admitted to hospital or the hospice by providing more back-up and care in their homes.

Gordon McGlynn, discharge manager with the charity and a district nurse employed by the NHS, said they would provide care for three to seven days in patients' homes, or full time, if necessary.

He said: "The ward staff at the Queen Elizabeth will liaise with us at Marie Curie and we will take a referral, visit the patient and their family in the ward and see how we can help.

"It's about bridging the gap between hospital and home and helping to avoid people having to go back into hospital or into the hospice."

Mr McGlynn said families often struggled to cope with the pressure of looking after a cancer patient near the end of their life and the charity would look at ways to help them.

They started initially working with the Glasgow Royal Infirmary hospital but gradually extended to cover the city.

They have helped nearly 1000 patients since 2012, he said, and will now help an estimated 600 more thanks to the latest extension following funding from the new Integrated Care Fund.

In 2014/15 the service helped 393 patients get home from hospital, and prevented 116 from entering.

Yvonne Owens, Marie Curie regional manager, officially launched the extended service yesterday.

She said: "More than 900 patients have benefited since the Marie Curie Fast Track Service launched in Glasgow in 2012. These are patients at the end of life who are at risk of hospital or hospice admission, or need additional support to allow them to be discharged and return home where they tell us they most want to be. The only way this is possible is thanks to us all working together to put the patient and their family, at the centre of their care.”

Professor Craig White, chairman of the National Advisory Group on Palliative and End of Life Care with the Scottish Government said: “This service is a great example of the sort of improvements that can be delivered through a strong focus on listening and responding to what matters most to people when it comes to care at the end of life.

"The Scottish Government is committed to supporting improved access to palliative care. The Strategic Framework for Action will outline details of the changes that will be made over the coming years to support more people to receive the sort of high quality care that the Glasgow Fast Track Service is designed to provide.”

David Williams, chief officer designate for Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership, said: "Bringing together NHS, Local Authority and third sector partners, the Marie Curie Fast Track Service is a great example of collaborative working and putting the patient and their family at the centre of their care. Partnership working, and shared knowledge alongside delivering high quality care, means patients can spend their last days in their homes with their families."