In 1972, a chance meeting between Dr Alistair Laing, Consultant Radiotherapist and Dr Eric Hughes of the National Society for Cancer Relief (NSCR, latterly Macmillan), resulted in a report confirming the need for specialist palliative care for people affected by terminal illness.
The President of the NSCR, Sir Michael Sobell, was impressed by the report and decided to personally gift £1 million to the National Society to support the building of four continuing care units (hospices) on Crown Land to improve care, pain control and support for patients with life - limiting illnesses. This gift was given on the understanding that the NHS would fund running costs supported by charitable donations from the local community. Such donations in the case of Michael Sobell House were channelled through the Charity which later became The Friends of Michael Sobell House.
Michael Sobell Hospice was built on the site of Mount Vernon Hospital here in Northwood. The first patients were admitted to the 16 bed In-Patient Unit on Valentine’s Day, 1977.
Since the opening of Michael Sobell Hospice, the range of patient care has developed further. On 23rd July 1982 a Day Centre was opened by Dr Robert Runcie, the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Friends of Michael Sobell House wholly fund the running costs of the Day Centre in accordance with the central aim of the Charity - to give the staff and volunteers at the hospice the money and resources they need to provide the best possible care.
An Outreach Service was launched in November 2003 offering patients and families access to specialist nursing care in their own homes.
Our Education Programme, launched in 2003, offers an extensive suite of training courses to other community healthcare professionals to enhance their knowledge of specialist palliative care.
We embrace a philosophy that is compatible with hospice care and is supported by a multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, chaplains, social workers, counsellors, physiotherapists, occupational and complementary therapists, housekeepers and administration staff.
The Friends of Michael Sobell House now Michael Sobell Hospice Charity's primary purpose going forward is to provide care for patients in the local community who face life -limiting illnesses and to provide vital care and support for their families and carers. The annual funding provided by the Charity has grown way beyond a ‘Comforts Fund’ to the extent that it now provides £2 in every £5 spent looking after our patients.