Projects in Serbia

A New Hospice Centre

BELhospice is developing a new hospice centre in Belgrade.

Phase 1 development underway

Phase 1 – two new services

Phase 1 of the development will be completed in 2018.  This will provide two new services – a day-care centre and an out-patient unit.



 Phase 1 will also house the existing home care teams and the education and training department.

 Design for the new day-care centre 



We are now working with BELhospice to fund these two new services and the maintenance costs of the new building. The combined cost for the two new services is £250,000. This includes 8 new members of staff.

These costs are covered by a grant from the EU until the end of 2018. BELhospice wants the new services to be secure so we are running a joint appeal to raise funds for the 2019 costs.  

Next steps

The long term aim for this project is to open the first ever purpose built in-patient unit in Serbia (Phase 2). We are in the process of agreeing the design and seeking consents for this Phase. We estimate this phase will cost more than 500,000 euros. 

New hospice centre design

What impact will the new hospice centre make?

BELhospice currently focusses on caring for patients in their homes and on education and training medical professionals and volunteers.

Once the building works are complete and we have secured funds to meet the costs of the new services we estimate that annually Phase 1 will provide:-

  • 600 out-patient consultations
  • At least 2,000 attendances at the day-care centre. This service will also help reduce the social isolation that is often felt by cancer sufferers
  • An increase in the number of home visits by 30% (from 1,767 to an estimated 2,300)
  • At least 1,000 counselling and bereavement sessions
  • More suitable premises for the home visits team and the education and training department

Why is the new centre needed?

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Serbia.  There are more than 30,000 new diagnoses and over 20,000 cancer related deaths every year.

According to some sources Serbia has the highest cancer mortality rate in Europe and there are concerns that this may continue to accelerate – possibly as a legacy from the years of conflict.

More than 6,000 people die from cancer in Belgrade each year.  World Health Organisation figures suggest that Belgrade should have 200 in-patient hospice beds but there are currently none.

We know that approximately one third of terminally ill cancer patients die in Serbian hospitals. Some of those facilities have good quality hospice care units but many do not and one of the challenges facing us in Serbia is to change the attitude towards the terminally ill.  A member of the medical team explains

As a young doctor working in Belgrade's Emergency Medical Service I provided acute medical care for terminally ill patients in moments of exacerbation or complication of their disease and very often witnessed their passing away. During nightshifts the Emergency Medical Service used to take calls from patients suffering from very severe cancer pain needing painkillers. The medical staff found visiting this group of patients time consuming, diverting their attention from the "real" urgent conditions (various sorts of accidental injuries, traffic accidents, heart attacks and strokes, cardiac arrests and etc.)

When cancer patients were brought to the hospital, the on call doctors would unwillingly examine them and in most cases discharge them quickly. These patients were rarely hospitalised being considered a burden, taking up space from other patients whose conditions could be treated and cured.

It is not known what happens to the cancer sufferers who do not die in hospitals but the likelihood is they are sent home without medical help or counselling and their families must cope with the hugely stressful situation of seeing their loved ones suffering in this way.

Help us complete the new Serbian Hospice Centre

You can help us make the new hospice centre in Serbia a reality by

  • donating to our general appeal
  • buying a brick and having your name or the name of a loved one written on a wall in the hospice garden. The wall will be a lasting monument to the love and generosity of the people who helped build the first Serbian hospice

 If you would like more information about the new hospice please contact [email protected]



Norway Project

The Royal Norwegian Embassy has supported our work in Serbia for the second year running.  Through its “Strengthening Civil Society” project it has given BEL a grant of 62,624 euros. This has been used in part to fund Phase 1 of the new hospice centre– but also to increase the number of patients and their families receiving care at home.

The grant is also being used to educate medical professionals working in the state hospitals and for staff training and recruitment. 27 new volunteers recently celebrated the end of their training. 




Honorary Patrons Committee

We have an UK Honorary Patrons Committee to oversee the project and ensure proper governance and transparency.  Patrons and Honorary Members are:

Princess Katarina of Yugoslavia and Serbia

Anela Musat

Rev Goran Spaic

Miroslav Unipan

Milos Stefanovic

Marija Sarenac

Natasha Kocsis

Simon Lawson

Zoka Milan

Marko Lazic