St Clare’s Hospice back in business for patients after closure

St Clare's Hospice
St Clare's Hospice

A troubled South Tyneside hospice has reopened after being given a clean bill of health by the care standards watchdog which forced its temporary closure.

St Clare’s Hospice has admitted its first day patients and in-patients since criticism by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) led to its shut-down last September.

Bosses confirmed the CQC has granted permission for key services to resume at the Primrose Terrace centre, in Jarrow.

The green light follows a follow-up check in December by the CQC, the independent regulator of all health and social care services in England.

Its team found improvements in key areas, believed to include clinical leadership and governance, such as auditing procedures and staff training and development, had been made.

However, the reopening is subject to monitoring by the CQC and its inspectors will return within six months to ensure high standards have been maintained.

The hospice’s Wellbeing Centre opened days before Christmas and its In-Patient Unit on Wednesday.

Chief Executive Paul Jones-King described the resumption of normal service as “the best Christmas present we could have”, but was unavailable for further comment.

A hospice spokeswoman added: “All clinical services have resumed. The CQC did not carry out a full inspection but it did come in and give the go-ahead to reopen.”

The hospice coordinated its improvement plan with the CQC and NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which commissions health services in the borough.

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Kate Hudson, the CCG’s deputy chief executive, said: “The CCG has been working with partners and the hospice through this period to make a number of improvements, including the recruitment of staff and further training.

“We are pleased that St Claire’s Hospice has re-opened and is able to help patients and families again.”

The CQC sais it was unable to comment on the hospice’s reopening to patients.

The resumption of care services follows a period of turmoil at the hospice, which was founded in 1987 to provide care and support to families affected by life-limiting illnesses.

It was put into voluntary suspension in September after twice being criticised by the CQC in just nine months.

St Clare’s is a charity which requires £2.2million a year to maintain services, which mostly comes from volunteer fundraising and donations.