Jarrow MP presenting St Clare's Hospice petition to Parliament in 'final fight'

Campaigners demanding the reopening of St Clare’s Hospice are heading to London for the ‘final journey’ in their fight.

By James Harrison
Tuesday, 8th September 2020, 5:35 pm
The St Clare's campaign is in London for its 'final fight'
The St Clare's campaign is in London for its 'final fight'

Jarrow MP Kate Osborne is due to hand over a petition to parliament tonight, Tuesday, September 8, calling for end-of-life care to be restarted at the town’s former St Clare’s Hospice.

“It’s the end journey for the campaign,” said Kay Smith, the former nurse behind the 13,669-signature ‘People’s Petition’ to save the hospice.

Kate Osborne

“This is the final destination and hopefully it’s going to have a big impact on the [South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)] and change their minds.

“There’s not much more we can do now apart from keep up the pressure until they make their final decision.”

Smith has previously called for families to send their ‘stories’ of St Clare’s care to CCG bosses and is also appealing for them to be posted online in an attempt to raise further awareness of the campaign.

South Tyneside has been without a dedicated facility for end of life care since St Clare’s Hospice, in Primrose Terrace, collapsed into insolvency in January last year (2019).

Kay Smith and and other St Clare's Hospice campaigners at the site Jarrow, Tuesday, August 18, 2020 SOURCE: Joseph Langley

Since then the CCG has been working on plans for a new service, which is expected to feature a ‘spoke and hub’ model, including a hub for inpatient care, possibly within the site of South Tyneside District Hospital.

A decision on the service’s future had been due earlier this year but was pushed back due to the coronavirus outbreak and is now scheduled to be announced later in September.

Arguments from bosses at the CCG for basing a new facility at or near the hospital have focussed on access to staff, which was an issue for St Clare’s in its later years and even forced a temporary closure in 2018.

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