MORE than a dozen healthcare jobs will be created in the region thanks to a big influx of Lottery funds into the hospice movement.

The announcement this week that £1.2m of National Lottery money is being invested means Butterwick Hospice Care will shortly be looking for a variety of healthcare workers.

Some of the posts will particularly suit those who live in the more rural areas of Weardale, Teesdale and around Sedgefield.

Apart from providing day hospices in small community hospitals in Stanhope, Barnard Castle and Sedgefield the plan is to provide a range of palliative care services to people living in rural areas.

Three more qualified children's nurses will be needed when all four beds at the Stockton children's hospice are opened - plus support staff.

Only two of the four beds are fully open due to cash shortages, but thanks to the allocation from the New Opportunities Fund all the beds will be staffed.

The largest number of new posts will be on the adult side, to provide care at home for patients with terminal illness.

Graham Leggatt-Chidgey, chief executive of the Butterwick Hospice Care group, said: "On the adult side we will need eight more home care workers plus a full-time co-ordinator.

"We will also need to buy in the services of physiotherapists, occupational therapists and counsellors."

There will also be a vacancy for a senior nurse who can visit patients in their homes and find out what services are needed.

Applications from people who live in more rural parts of the target areas are particularly welcome.

Carers who would like to be considered for extra support at home should talk to their district nurses.

The successful bid from the Butterwick was made jointly with Durham Dales and Sedgefield primary care trusts.

Christina Haworth, director of nursing for Sedgefield PCT, said: "The demand for palliative care at home has really mushroomed and we can't meet it at the moment."

She stressed that the service was not restricted to cancer sufferers but would be available to anyone with a chronic terminal illness.