Health chiefs 'committed' to replacement for St Clare's Hospice - but cannot reveal location

NHS chiefs have insisted they are still ‘committed’ to reopening a hospice in South Tyneside, but have refused to be drawn on where this could be.
The former St Clare's Hospice buildingThe former St Clare's Hospice building
The former St Clare's Hospice building

Campaigners have been calling for the former St Clare’s Hospice site, in Jarrow, to be resurrected under plans currently being drawn up.

But care bosses for the borough, which has now been without a dedicated end of life care facility for a year, have repeated their preference for a new service to be based near South Tyneside District Hospital, in South Shields.

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“We’re committed to recommissioning a hospice,” said Matt Brown, director of operations at South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

“We’ve been meeting a number of organisations and charities who might be interested in providing that and we’re working on the service and the location.

“We’ve said our preferred model is for it to be somewhere in the vicinity of the hospital to address some of the medical staffing issues, but if there are other ways of addressing those we’re up for looking at that.

“But I cannot talk much about that because they’re commercially confidential issues and we have to be sensitive to the seven organisations we’re working with now.”

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Brown was speaking at this afternoon’s (Thursday, January 30) at a specially organised meeting of South Tyneside Council’s Hebburn Community Area Forum (CAF).

A presentation on the future of palliative and end of life care in South Tyneside had been scheduled to be given to the CAF before Christmas, but had to be cancelled due to campaigning rules in the run up to the general election.

Coun Wilf Flynn, who chaired the meeting, said ‘emotion’ needed to be kept out of decision making for the future of palliative care in the borough.

Campaigners have previously praised the ‘terrific surroundings’ of St Clare’s former Primrose Hill base and questioned whether this could be recreated elsewhere.

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Brown added it was ‘absolutely clear it needs to be somewhere tranquil’, but also highlighted the need to be closer to medical staff.

Last week CCG bosses said a potential new hospice site could be unveiled ‘in the next few weeks’.