Campaigners launch 'last-ditch' attempt to save St Clare's Hospice site

Campaigners are launching a last ditch attempt to convince NHS chiefs to return end of life care to Jarrow.

Kay Smith is among those fighting to save the St Clare's Hospice site
Kay Smith is among those fighting to save the St Clare's Hospice site

Opponents of proposals to move treatment to South Shields instead have promised to ‘bombard’ bosses in the run up to decision day with reasons to return to the hospice site.

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Kay Smith, a former nurse, said: “We can’t do a protest because you can’t have more than 30 people and you can’t take a petition to London either.

“Then I thought, let’s bombard these people and tell them why we think it should be in Jarrow – tell them your stories.

“If you get enough people to do it then they might change their minds, we’ve still got time left, we can’t do much, but we can do some more.”

South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) was due to rule on plans for palliative care in the borough earlier this year, but a decision was pushed back due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

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In July, bosses confirmed this is likely to be announced in September.

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Instead they have raised the prospect of a ‘spoke and hub’ model, with hospice-style care available in a new facility, possibly at or near South Tyneside District Hospital.

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“There’s an awful lot of emails which could be bombarded on these people – if people don’t write them they can’t expect to change anything.

“We need to give it a try and then we can say we’ve done everything.”

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Matt Brown, the CCG’s director of operations, said: “We very much appreciate that many people have strong feelings about end of life care locally.

“While this has been a challenging year for the NHS, we are still working hard to develop the best possible range of services within the resources we have available.”

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