Replacement plans announced for St Clare's Hospice - health chiefs aim to double funding for end-of-life care in South Tyneside

Plans have been announced to replace St Clare’s Hospice with new end-of-life care which will see annual spending doubled, say health chiefs.
The former St. Clare's Hospice, Jarrow.The former St. Clare's Hospice, Jarrow.
The former St. Clare's Hospice, Jarrow.

The borough has been without its own dedicated inpatient palliative service for almost two years, following the closure of St Clare’s Hospice in Jarrow.

But, despite the efforts of campaigners to see the former hospice reopened, NHS bosses have now confirmed proposals to set up a new facility in South Shields costing about £1.5million per year.

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“I think the model we’ve got is going to give really good quality end of life care in a really peaceful, dignified environment,” said Matt Brown, executive director of operations at South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Haven Court in South ShieldsHaven Court in South Shields
Haven Court in South Shields

“People felt really passionately about St Clare’s and gave a lot of time and money to keep it going, but even with that commitment it went insolvent.

“It couldn’t develop the income it needed to survive, hence we’re looking at NHS funding, which is more sustainable for the future.”

He added: “We recognise the current economic position means we cannot rely on charitable funding – this is a more sustainable model.”

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Mr Brown was speaking as a long-awaited report on the CCG’s preferred option for the future of palliative care in the borough was finally published.

It had been slated for release earlier in 2020, but was pushed back due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

It will now be considered at a meeting of the CCG’s governing body on Thursday, September 24.

The CCG previously gave £800,000 a year to support care at St Clare’s Hospice, but will almost double this to £1.5million with the plans for a new ‘spoke and hub’ model.

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This will see a new facility set up at Haven Court, on the South Tyneside Hospital site – a move chiefs also think will ease the staffing troubles which plagued St Clare’s in its later years.

Brown added: “People have told us they want more choice at the end of their lives, so that everyone can have the best quality care, wherever they choose to be.

“Haven Court can offer homely private bedrooms with en suite facilities, in a quiet and dignified setting.

“The building has its own separate garden, car park and entrance – things that many people have said are important to them.”

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Campaigners had been pushing for the reopening of St Clare’s Hospice at its Primrose Terrace site in Jarrow.

The hospice has been providing specialist care and support to adults living with life-limiting illnesses and their families in South Tyneside since it opened in 1987.

Ms Osborne urged health chiefs to listen, adding: “The building is ideal in my opinion and with the right plan in place, I strongly feel that there is no reason why a palliative care service cannot be restored to the former St. Clare’s site.

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