HALTON Haven has been declared ‘outstanding’ for the support and involvement it provides for patients and their relatives.

The hospice was awarded top marks by the healthcare watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CYQ) for the way it responds to the needs of patients and their families.

Every other aspect of the service – safety, effectiveness, caring and management - was declared good.

Viv Culleton, director of care and operational services at the hospice said: “We were all thrilled when we received the report particularly since the inspection was done with no notice so that CQC found us exactly as we always operate.

“Nothing special was put on.

“We were particularly delighted to be rated outstanding in the way we respond to the people who need.

“This is a credit to the whole team at the hospice and it is the people of Halton whose support keeps the hospice open.”

The charity on Barnfield Avenue, Murdishaw in Runcorn, provides specialist palliative care, advice and clinical support for adults with life limiting illness.

Patients are cared for in a 12-bed unit and a day hospice.

In a report, CQC inspectors said: “We found the culture was positive and caring and staff were passionate about working at the hospice.

“They spoke of the importance of treating each patient as an individual which showed us that some aspects of the hospice were outstanding.

“Best practice guidelines were followed to ensure patients receive the best care staff could give and patients were well supported by experienced well trained staff.”

It is the first hospice in the country to have a ‘men’s shed’ which offers bereaved men the chance to learn a new skill in a homely, relaxed environment.

It follows research which shows that grieving men prefer to be active rather than have counselling.

Inspectors were impressed by this unique support which enables men to unwind at their own leisure.

Woodwork, photography, cookery, gardening and painting helps men develop friendships so they can talk about their feelings.