Dear South Tyneside Community,
Sometimes it takes courage to make the most difficult decisions in life but, as many people in South Tyneside will know, deciding to voluntarily suspend regulated services at St Clare’s Hospice was an extremely tough decision to make.
Since the inspection last month by our regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the ensuing temporary suspension of services, update meetings have been taking place with the CQC and the South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group; these meetings will continue until such time that the St Clare’s Hospice team is confident to trigger a follow-up CQC inspection – currently planned for December – with the hope of resuming its regulated services as soon as possible: the 8-bedded In-Patient Unit and the Wellbeing Centre (formerly known as Day Hospice).
However, it is important to stress that the ultimate decision will be that of the CQC. Until such time, the Hospice team continues to provide bereavement counselling and befriending support to people in the community. This important area of work has not ceased to operate during the suspension and we continue to come alongside people experiencing significant loss and grief.
The CQC Improvement Action Plan that the St Clare’s team has developed continues to make significant progress; much work has been undertaken by both the clinical and medical teams under the expert leadership and guidance of Paul Jones-King, Director of Clinical Services, who joined the Hospice team in late September. Lots of transformative work has been achieved already and this includes revisions to policies and procedures, safeguarding updates, reviews of audit management and reporting, delivery of mandatory training updates, the creation of internal team development opportunities and continuing improvements in communication.
I firmly believe that the CQC inspection outcomes will enable us to resume our services from a much stronger position than has ever been achieved before and, importantly, deliver great care and support to the people of South Tyneside. St Clare’s Hospice intends to lead the way in helping local people understand that specialist palliative and end of life care doesn’t mean the end of living. But we need the continuing support of the South Tyneside people if we are to get there – now and in the future.
I would like to thank the entire St Clare’s Hospice team – staff and volunteers – for their continuing commitment and courage during this challenging period. The level of care that the teams provide to local patients and their families is second to none and this is reflected in the overwhelmingly positive feedback that we have always received from those who have experienced Hospice care.
I would also like to express my sincere thanks to the people of South Tyneside for believing in us as we strive to better serve the community by providing well-led, safe, effective and responsive services. We are getting stronger each day.
With best wishes,
Avril Robinson, Chief Executive