NHS bosses blast social media 'fake news' surrounding closure of St Clare's Hospice

NHS chiefs have blasted what they have called the ‘fake news’ which surrounded the closure of a South Tyneside hospice.

Saturday, 28th September 2019, 8:00 am
NHS chiefs have blasted what they have called the ‘fake news’ which surrounded the closure of a St Clare's Hospice.

St Clare’s Hospice, in Jarrow, collapsed into insolvency early this year, leaving the borough without a dedicated end of life care facility.

But as health bosses revealed the early outlines of plans to replace the facility they also took the opportunity to criticise the rumours which circulated on social media following the closure of St Clare’s.

“I think there’s been a lot of fake news around this since January and a lot of untruths in the public domain,” said Matt Brown, director of operations at South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

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“St Clare’s closed due to financial issues and it is not possible to reopen it, it doesn’t exist as an organisation anymore [and before is closed] St Clare’s was shut for three months on the basis of safety concerns.

“It was also under utilised, probably because the clinical teams didn’t feel it was a good model of care and patients weren’t necessarily being given choice.

“Replacing it like-for-like, for me, is not a credible option.”

He added: “The reality is as people perceive it, but this is about a model that matches peoples’ needs.”

Mr Brown was speaking at the meeting on Thursday, September 26 of the CCG’s governing body which heard details of a proposed ‘spoke and hub’ model for the future of palliative care in South Tyneside.

Proposals are still in their early stages with no set timeline for a final decision, but it is thought this could see a greater focus on community care, with more people offered the chance to die at home.

A ‘hub’ could also be created offering inpatient services, with South Tyneside District Hospital mooted as a possible location following a CCG survey which found a ‘physical building within the borough’ was a ‘red line’.

Dr David Hambleton, the CCG’s chief executive, said: “People consistently say, locally and nationally, they would prefer to die at home, but we often don’t provide the support they need to do that.

“It’s also fair to say that what we’ve heard throughout this is some people don’t want to die at home and instead in another place and in a better place than hospital - too often people have the other options taken away from them.”