Replacement for St Clare's Hospice 'must not repeat problems of past'

A new end of life service must not repeat the same issues which affected the former St Clare’s Hospice, NHS chiefs have said.

Campaigner Kay Smith outside the former St Clare's Hospice building in Jarrow.
Campaigner Kay Smith outside the former St Clare's Hospice building in Jarrow.

The charity, in Jarrow, collapsed into insolvency in 2019, leaving South Tyneside without a dedicated palliative care facility.

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“A large number of local people have helped us shape a new vision for end of life care, with more social care, nursing and palliative care for patients who prefer to die at home, as well as a new hospice-type service,” said Matt Brown, director of operations at South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

“It is important that this is in a peaceful and dignified place, with homely private rooms and not a ward environment.

“Equally, we need to ensure it provides safe, high quality medical care and does not repeat the safety and quality issues that led to St Clare’s being rated inadequate by Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors.”

Care was halted at St Clare’s Hospice for three weeks in July 2018 due to staff shortages of doctors.

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This was followed by a four-month closure in September after management concerns were raised by the CQC, a Government watchdog.

This was later blamed for ‘restricted fundraising’ which forced the charity into liquidation in January 2019.

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Since then, campaigners have lobbied for services to return to the hospice’s former Jarrow home.

But a proposed ‘spoke and hub’ model has raised the prospect of a new facility at or near South Tyneside District Hospital, in South Shields.

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Care chiefs say this would improve access to medical staff.

Brown added an extra £500,000 has been allocated for palliative care in the borough, which could help more people die at home, a preference for many, according to the CCG’s research.

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He said: “We need a strong range of services, so that everyone can get the best possible care, whatever our preferences.”

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