A troubled South Tyneside hospice has made a quick-fire appointment in a bid to turn around its fortunes and reopen.
Bosses at St Clare’s Hospice say Paul Jones-King is the man to lead them forward and towards acceptable operating standards.
Mr Jones-King has been appointed to the newly-created post of director of clinical services, where he will seek to achieve higher levels of quality leadership and management.
Centre managers have also confirmed a first stage action plan has been submitted to health watchdogs, which they were compelled to do by yesterday.
A week ago, the centre, in Primrose Terrace, Jarrow, went into voluntary suspension after criticism from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Twice this year the CQC, the independent regulator of all health and social care services in England, had told it to improve.
The first warning was in January, and a snap inspection last week also revealed non-patient care failings.
Mr Jones-King has experience of working as a Registered General Nurse (RGN) in a number of senior clinical positions within the NHS and the hospice movement.
Avril Robinson, chief executive of St Clare’s, said the appointment would bring the clinical leadership and management needed to provide South Tyneside with the specialist care and support it deserves.
She added: “All our nursing, medical and support staff are incredibly skilled and highly-committed people.
“I am excited that Paul will work alongside the team to help develop a much stronger foundation stone of quality assurance.
“We’d like to offer our thanks to the South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (STCCG) for their support and expertise, as well as other local partners who are supporting us during this time.
“We’d also like to thank our patients and their families, our staff and volunteers and the community of South Tyneside for their continued support.”
The CQC’s concerns centred on clinical leadership and governance, including behind-the-scenes auditing procedures, and staff training and development.
Last wek, Miss Robinson has predicted St Clare’s will resume core services in a minimum of eight weeks.
Progress will be reviewed fortnightly and an update provided in mid-October by the Hospice Management Team.
All calls to the South Tyneside 24/7 palliative care advice line - 0191 529 7108 - will be automatically forwarded to the St Benedict’s Hospice clinical team.