Palliative care nurses have collected more than 5,500 signatures demanding that a closed-down hospice in South Tyneside re-opens.
The sudden closure of St Clare’s Hospice in January, caused shock waves across the borough, for not only its staff, but the countless number of families who have been helped by its services.
Bosses decided to enter into insolvent liquidation after suffering financial difficulties.
A number of the Jarrow hospice’s former staff plan to submit their petition to the NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) on Tuesday - demanding that the site is reopened.
The nurses have been supported on their mission by the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign (SSTHC).
Roger Nettleship, the group’s chairman, said: “Yet another vital service - offering round the clock specialised palliative end-of-life hospice care - is, at the moment, no longer available to the people of South Tyneside with the sudden closure of St Clare’s Hospice.
“The SSTHC demands the restoration of a 24-hour specialised palliative end-of-life care service to be provided in South Tyneside, just as it is provided in Sunderland at St Benedicts.
“The CCG must utilise the skills of those nurses that provided such a wonderful palliative care service at St Clare’s - until it was closed.”
Dr Matthew Walmsley, local GP and GP Chair for NHS South Tyneside CCC said a review is currently being carried out on the borough’s palliative care options.
He said: “Following the closure of St Clare’s, we are currently carrying out a detailed review of options for the future and will be inviting people to share their views before deciding on the best way to provide services in the future.
“In the meantime, patients needing palliative care are being cared for at Marie Curie, St Benedict’s, and St Oswald’s hospices, with support from South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.
“The closure of St Clare’s was a sad moment for many people in our community, from the staff team to the many local people who had supported the hospice over the years.
“We were made aware of the hospice’s financial difficulties just before it ceased to exist due to insolvency, and provided as much support as we could for an independent charity, which has now ceased to exist.”
To support the petition, visit https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-st-clares-hospice.