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.
Opponents of plans to treat palliative patients elsewhere believe now could be their last chance to raise the issue at the highest levels of government, before a decision on the future of the facility in South Tyneside is confirmed.
“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.
“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).
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.