Two patients affected as doctor shortage forces St Clare’s Hospice to close for three weeks

St Clare's Hospice, in Primrose Terrace in Jarrow.
St Clare's Hospice, in Primrose Terrace in Jarrow.

A decision to close St Clare’s Hospice for three weeks will directly affect two patients.

Bosses at the charity, based in Primrose Terrace, Jarrow, is to close temporarily from Monday until Sunday August 12.

Since we made the announcment, we have been overwhelmed by the support and good will messages we have received from the local community has been welcomed at this time.”

St Clare’s Hospice spokeswoman

The move has been taken after two doctors have left the team and a third doctor has had to reduce their hours as they undergo training to become a palliative care consultant.

Replacements are in the pipline but they are not yet ready to start.

Two of the three new doctor’s will soon start their induction period.

The third doctor will start at a later date due to the notice period they have to work in their current job.

A spokeswoman for St Clare’s Hospice confirmed all those affected have been informed - including the two patients and their families who are currently receiving care in the centre’s in-patient unit.

One patient will be discharged on Friday, to continue their care at home. While a second patient will remain at the hospice where their care will continue.

The spokeswoman, for the charity which relies on specialist palliative care and end-of-life doctors and a dedicated nursing team, said: “We operate with five doctors, but we have the unusual circumstance of having two doctors leaving for relocation reasons. We also have a full-time doctor having to reduce her hours due to training to become a palliative care consultant.

“We have been recruiting for a number of weeks, but it has taken longer than anticipated. But we have successfully recruited three new doctors.”

The spokeswoman added: “Since we made the announcement, we have been overwhelmed by the support and good will messages we have received from the local community has been welcomed at this time.”

During it’s closure, all patients needing specialist hospice care and support should continue to be referred to St Clare’s in the usual way.

The hospice’s clinical team will ensure that all patients receive the care they need, working closely with the nearby Marie Curie, St Benedict’s, and St Oswald’s hospices, as well as South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust.

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.

During this brief closure, hospice staff will be utilising the time available to refresh their training and to pursue professional development opportunities.