South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) chiefs have been informed of the progress made on the dedicated facility at Haven Court within the South Tyneside District Hospital site.
This forms part of a clinical model which was previously signed off by NHS bosses, including a hospice-style facility and enhanced home and community care.
Plans aimed to fill the gap in provision left by the loss of Jarrow’s St Clare’s Hospice, which shut down in January 2019 after the independent charity that ran it collapsed into insolvency.
The new scheme prompted an angry reaction from campaigners, however, who favoured reopening the existing St Clare’s site in Jarrow.
At Thursday’s meeting of the CCG Governing Body, it was said the Haven Court site will be “fully staffed” from April 12, which is when they are aiming to open for.
Elaine Coghill, director of care, quality and safety at Haven Court, said: “We would like to open on the 12th April, it will probably be more of a phased approach.
“We’re anticipating all of the work will be completed this week and then we’ll be able to formally sign off all the snagging early next week, which will be great.
“The training is well underway with the staff at Haven Court around caring for end of life patients and palliative care patients as well.”
She added the building and estates work for the site had previously faced delays due to Covid-19.
Ms Coghill added: “Haven Court had an outbreak of covid at the start of the year so that delayed the estate works starting, and then we’ve had some slight delays with the workmen going off with covid as well.”
The site will operate with a 24/7 nursing model and also has in reach from community services as well as a specialist palliative care team, the meeting heard.
Health chiefs said the “only sticking point” is to come up with a name for the unit, with talks ongoing, but it is hoped this will be in place for an official opening event “in due course”.
Liz Davies, director of communications for NHS South Tyneside and Sunderland Foundation Trust, said: “What we’d like to do is get the service up and running, first and foremost, get things open and let the local community know that this much anticipated new service is going to be live from the 12th April.”
Dr Matthew Walmsley, chair of the CCG and GP in the area, said the service is just part of a refashioned palliative care offer for the people of South Tyneside developed over recent years.
He said: “I think we’re ending up with a really good service, a really local service, which is important for the people of South Tyneside, a sustainable service.
“I think the way it’s been designed also going forward will provide people with the opportunity to really get behind this as a focal point that they can rally behind locally and contribute to making it as good as it can possibly be for the people of South Tyneside.”
The state-of-the-art Haven Court building will have six bedrooms and be in its own separate area of the South Tyneside District Hospital site with its own private garden, car park and entrance.