Urgent petition launched in last-ditch attempt to bring palliative care back to St Clare’s building in Jarrow

A former nurse has launched an urgent petition in a last ditch attempt to bring palliative care back to Jarrow.

Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 4:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 8:39 pm

Whitburn resident, Kay Smith, is attempting to gather 10,000 signatures in two weeks in a bid to bring palliative care back to the Primrose Terrace building in Jarrow.

It comes as health chiefs have said that a like-for-like replacement was “not a credible option” and a proposed location for a new palliative care facility “within the vicinity of” South Tyneside District Hospital could be revealed within weeks.

But Kay and others in the borough feel passionately that the building which housed the former St Clare’s Hospice should be considered.

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Kay Smith and volunteers collecting signatures for the petition in King Street, South Shields.

The 57-year-old, who formerly worked as a nurse on the Bede Ward at South Tyneside District Hospital, lost her partner Alan Price to cancer in August 2017 at the age of 62.

She says his care at St Clare’s is the motivation behind the petition.

“It’s all for my Alan, that is my passion behind it, that peace it gave him in his last weeks,” she said.

“St Clare’s was wonderful. It's the whole ambience of the building, it’s totally different to being in hospital, he had views and could get out of his wheelchair.”

Kay Smith collecting signatures for the petition in King Street, South Shields.

Since then several grassroots campaigns have attempted to bring the service back to Jarrow.

A petition which gathered more than 3,000 signatures last year was recently put to the council - although some of these were found to have originated from more than 50 different countries outside the UK.

Kay, who has so far collected 5,000 signatures, is insistent that all of them will come from local people.

“These signatures need to represent the heart and soul of the borough. People from all walks of life are wanting to get behind it, it’s a real team effort from the people of South Tyneside,” she said.

“The petition is about the building itself and what it stands for. It’s something that means a lot to people.”

Despite the fact that a decision from South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) could come imminently, Kay thinks they still have a chance.

“I thought I have got to try and if it doesn’t work then at least I can say I did everything I could,” she added.

“If the voices of 10,000 people mean nothing then we’re in trouble.”

Coun Glenn Thompson, who has backed the petition, said the support so far shows how strongly residents feel, he commented: “The support is incredible. This is telling both the council and South Tyneside CCG that the people of South Tyneside are unanimously behind the restoration of palliative care at Primrose Hill and do not want a “bedded space” option at the hospital. Palliative care touches us all, we all need to do everything possible to make sure we get this right.”

To find out how to sign the petition visit the Save St Clare's Hospice Facebook page.