As you may be aware there has recently been an announcement by the East & North Herts NHS Trust, in partnership with Michael Sobell Hospice Charity, that the existing Hospice building is unsafe and no longer fit for purpose. We will therefore see the temporary relocation of the inpatient unit (IPU) as an interim measure into two wards on the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre unit located on the main hospital site by the end of June 2018.

The Charity will continue to fully fund the Hospice Day Centre (which is a newer part of the Hospice building) on the existing site and will ensure funding is available so that no patient receiving palliative care at present will be affected.

With this news, comes an expectation and understanding that many of you, supporters and volunteers alike, will have questions around the future of these services and the work of the Charity, which has supported the fundraising of Hospice services for over 40 years.

We have put this bulletin together in the hope we can reassure you that your invaluable support matters more than ever. As we undertake a comprehensive review and consultation of existing services, in partnership with the NHS Trust, our aim is to develop a clear and shared vision moving forward of what is needed for future palliative care services in our community. We will of course keep you involved and update you on any significant developments as we go along through.

Why has this happened?

The IPU building from which palliative and end of life care services have been provided for many years is now deemed to have reached the end of its useful life with serious structural problems emerging. The Charity does not own or manage the building. It is owned by Hillingdon NHS Trust with clinical services managed by East & North Herts NHS Trust.

Why has this not been brought to my attention before now?

The issues around the building have now been brought to our attention and the poor environment of the IPU is now confirmed by the NHS Estates Team as irreparable. The Charity’s Board of Trustees acted quickly to take positive steps, discuss the implications and how best to address them.

What will happen now?

Over the next few months, and in partnership with the NHS, we will undertake a review to identify the future palliative care needs of our community, and how best the Charity can help fulfil them. Our supporters, volunteers and staff will play a big part in this process and ongoing conversations are taking place with representatives from the NHS Trust and wider.

Why should I continue to fundraise for the Charity?

The Charity will continue to fully-fund the Hospice Day Centre and is committed to ensuring we make the funds available so that no patient receiving palliative care at present will be affected. The relocation of the IPU is a temporary measure. Going forward, we will be working with the NHS and the local community on the future location of services.

Why should I continue to support?

The fact that the Charity has been able to provide palliative care for over 40 years is testament to you, our passionate and dedicated supporters, volunteers and staff team. As we seek to tackle the current challenge and reassess what services our community needs in the future, we need your support more than ever.

What can I do to help?

Please encourage other supporters to continue their efforts, as the current situation provides us with a real opportunity to work alongside the NHS to re-evaluate the support that patients and their families need in the future.

How can I keep up-to-date with developments?

Keep an eye on the Charity’s website: www.michaelsobellhospice.co.uk, local media and our social media pages on Facebook and Twitter. A further Q&A will be posted on our website shortly and we will issue follow up bulletins in the future to keep everyone updated.

We hope you will continue to be valued ambassadors for our Charity.

Thank you for your support.

The Board of Trustees