A South Tyneside hospice is to close temporarily after an inspection raised concerns over the way it is run.
St Clare’s Hospice, in Jarrow, is voluntarily suspending services after an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) earlier this month.
CEO Avril Robinson and the Board of Trustees say they made the decision after the inspection raised concerns over clinical leadership and governance.
Bosses say the move is unrelated to a previous planned closure due to staffing shortages earlier this year, which saw the hospice left without a full complement of hospice physicians for a short period.
Avril Robinson said: ""We are taking the concerns raised by the CQC Hospital Inspectorate Team extremely seriously and we are fully committed to working towards improvements in our clinical quality assurance and other areas of work that underpin the delivery of our services.
"The St Clare’s team is working very closely with colleagues in South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group in order to develop a detailed action plan which will identify what actions we will take, the various partners we will be working with and, importantly, the timescale we anticipate re- opening St Clare’s Hospice to serve the South Tyneside community.”
During the suspension, plans will be made for alternative provision of care. In-patients currently receiving care at St Clare’s Hospice will be transferred, as appropriate, to neighbouring Hospices, South Tyneside District Hospital or discharged home by Monday.
St Clare’s Hospice has been guaranteed support from South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (STCCG) during this time. Over this weekend, any patients in South Tyneside requiring specialist hospice care and support should continue to be referred to St Clare’s Hospice in the usual manner.
A member of the clinical team will co-ordinate appropriate care liaising closely with neighbouring Hospices – Marie Curie, St Benedict’s Hospice, Sunderland and St Oswald’s Hospice, Newcastle – alongside South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland City Hospitals.
All Day Hospice patients who visit St Clare’s Hospice have been notified of the temporary suspension of services and any patients who require clinical interventions will be supervised by Macmillan and the Community Nursing Team from South Tyneside Foundation Trust.
Patients who benefit from social support at the hospice will be signposted to South Tyneside Council for short-term alternative options.
Avril Robinson added "We’d like to offer our thanks to our colleagues and partners who have offered their support during the suspension: Care Quality Commission; South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group; South Tyneside Foundation Trust; our neighbouring hospices and our partners.
"We’d also like to thank our patients, their families and our staff and volunteers for their continuing understanding and support."
From Monday , all calls to the South Tyneside 24/7 palliative care advice line (0191 529 7108) will be automatically forwarded to the St Benedict’s Hospice clinical team.