Like-for-like replacement of St Clare's Hospice in South Tyneside is 'not a credible option' say NHS chiefs

A like-for-like replacement of St Clare’s Hospice is not a ‘credible option’ NHS bosses have said.

Friday, 27th September 2019, 4:45 pm
A like-for-like replacement of St Clare’s Hospice is not a ‘credible option’ NHS bosses have said.

Early plans for the future of end of life care in South Tyneside were confirmed this week following the hospice’s collapse into insolvency earlier this year (2019).

And although St Clare’s former base in Jarrow is unlikely to be reopened, the prospect has been raised of palliative inpatients once again receiving care in the borough at a dedicated facility in South Tyneside District Hospital.

A report on the possibilities for the service recommended a ‘spoke-and-hub’ model with a greater focus on community care.

Dr Jon Tose, a GP and clinical director with South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “The spokes are the services supporting people in their own homes with the hub having, among other things, an inpatient bed facility that would offer complex palliative care for people who can’t be managed at home.”

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He added: “The groups [asking where the hub could go] agreed a location somewhere on the South Tyneside Hospital site, but not on the wards, would be optimal.

“Whatever model is agreed, the governance model needs to be robust so we don’t end up in a situation like St Clare’s.”

Dr Tose was speaking at the meeting on Thursday, September 26, of the CCG’s governing body.

Before it was forced into liquidation, the CCG contributed about £800,000 a year to St Clare’s running costs, which ran to more than £2million annually.

Dr Tose admitted although this regular contribution would continue, but would ‘perhaps fall short’ of paying for everything suggested in the report.

Instead he raised the prospect of another organisation, such as Macmillan Cancer Support or another hospice, being brought in to help provide some service.

But Matt Brown, the CCG’s director of operations, who said replacing the service formerly provided by St Clare's was 'not a credible option', admitted bringing other organisations on board would be a ‘complex’ process, while Dr Tose conceded there was no ‘definitive’ timescale on finalising plans yet.

Roger Nettleship, of the Save South Tyneside Hospital campaign, told the meeting there was ‘concern’ services would not return to St Clare’s former Primrose Terrace base.

But after the meeting Coun Geraldine Kilgour, who represents South Tyneside Council’s Fellgate and Hedworth ward said plans for hub and ‘bedded space’ in the borough were ‘really welcome’.