Save St.Clare's Facebook page gets more than 14,000 likes in a week as councillor calls for council to take action
A Facebook group set up to save St.Clare's Hospice garnered more than 14,000 members in a week.
Independent Councillor John Robertson, who represents Fellgate and Hedworth, set up the Save St. Clare's Hospice group as part of an ongoing campaign to reopen the hospice, after it was announced in January that it would be going into liquidation, closing after 30 years of serving South Tyneside.
A group held a peaceful gathering of around 140 people outside the site to make their views heard earlier in October.
Councillor Robertson said he was overwhelmed by the response, describing it as “amazing”.
He said: “I couldn’t believe it. It just goes to show the public dedication to save the hospice is there. A wide range of people have been offering to help with the campaign from nursers, to businesses, to charities.”
Coun Robertson, who made St Clare’s one of his key campaign issues when he ran for election in May, plans to try and get a lease from the NHS for the building and set up a charity in order to run it.
Health chiefs, however, have said it is “unlikely” the Primrose Hill site will be a base for future palliative care in South Tyneside, though South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – which is responsible for palliative care in the borough – said a decision was yet to be made.
Coun Robertson also called on South Tyneside Council to take more action.
He said: “St.Clare’s should get a five year lifeline or we risk being put back to 30 years ago.”
In reply to his comments, a spokesperson for the council said: "St Clare's held a special place in the hearts and minds of the people of South Tyneside.”
"We all want the highest quality palliative care for our residents and the Clinical Commissioning Group is developing solutions with clinicians, health care workers and service users.
“The Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee has been actively involved in looking at the proposals put forward by the CCG and has made a number of recommendations.”