Health chiefs won't allow 'rose-tinted' view of St Clare's Hospice to affect future plans for end-of-life care

NHS chiefs have said they could not allow a ‘rose-tinted’ view of St Clare’s Hospice to affect their planning for the future of end-of-life care in South Tyneside.

Wednesday, 9th October 2019, 4:46 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th October 2019, 6:58 pm
The former St. Clare's Hospice, Jarrow.

Health bosses are working on a new model for services after the former palliative care centre in Jarrow was forced into liquidation early this year.

And early plans have all but ruled out reopening the charity’s former base in Primrose Hill, despite the calls of some campaigners.

“I think it’s important we get away from the rose-tinted view of what St Clare’s was providing and we have to do something different,” said Matt Brown, director of operations at South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

“We didn’t want it to close, it didn’t benefit anyone, but things needed to be different, and if it’s not going to be near the hospital site then we’re going to need to think again about the model.”

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Mr Brown was speaking at today’s meeting of South Tyneside Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Coordinating and Call-in Committee, which looked at an ‘outline service model’ for the future of palliative care in the borough.

If approved, this would place more emphasis on ‘spoke’ community services, although a small ‘hub’ could also provide a base an inpatient unit, possibly at South Tyneside Hospital.

But at today’s meeting councillors criticised care chiefs for considering the possibility of placing this outside the borough.

“There’s an incredibly sentimental, rose-tinted view of what St Clare’s was – I’m guilty of that – and I suspect a lot of people have the same sentimental attachment to the location going on the experiences of several years gone,” said Coun Doreen Purvis.

“The penny doesn’t seem to have dropped that we cannot go back to Primrose Hill.

“But I was shocked to hear you had even considered going out of South Tyneside, a very poor area where people don’t always have access to cars.”

But the suggestion of basing services outside the borough was defended by Mr Brown, who replied: “To try and do the best thing for the people of South Tyneside it is right to consider going outside South Tyneside.

“We concluded that is not the right thing, but I think it is right we looked at that really thoroughly and made sure we weren’t just swept along by sentiment.”