Willow Burn Hospice opened in 1989 as a result of two remarkable women, Irene Mortimer and Valerie Davison, who identified a local gap in the service of hospice care, and with the support of the Secretary of State set up Day Hospice Care with the help of funding from Macmillan. The Willow Burn Day Hospice service was expanded in 1991 to include in-patient services and up until 2006 these were the only beds available in Durham. In 2014, Willow Burn opened Phase 1 of their 3-stage building project.
In 2018, the Helen McArdle Wing opened at Willow Burn Hospice. Home to a six-bed inpatient unit and community café, the wing and newly refurbished Sir Tom Cowie Centre offer a holistic approach to end of life care.