We are fighting to protect inpatient and day services in a rebuilt, renovated or relocated Michael Sobell Hospice in the north of Hillingdon.

And today (7th September 2018) we have written to our registered supporters and volunteers setting out our goals and asking for their backing.

It follows the NHS relocating the 10-bed in-patient unit in June 2018, from the existing Michael Sobell Hospice building to the main Mount Vernon Hospital block.

This was originally a temporary move in response to “significant concerns” raised by the Care Quality Commission about the existing facilities [Click here for link to CQC report for Mount Vernon Cancer Centre).

But we are still pushing for local NHS managers to put concrete proposals for the future of hospice care on the table by the end of 2018 at the latest.

Our letter is below in full. And for more information see our Frequently Asked Questions

Dear Supporter,

First, I want to thank you, on behalf of the hundreds of patients we support every year, for your support and interest in our work. We simply couldn’t survive without your commitment to our cause. Second, update you on our fight to protect in-patient hospice care for our community. And third I am asking for your generosity for our day hospice – which gives invaluable nursing care, support and therapy to hundreds of people in our community every single year.

This follows changes made by the East & North Hertfordshire NHS Trust to palliative and end-of-life care at the Mount Vernon Hospital site.

To do this, I am outlining:

  • Our overall mission
  • Our goals over the autumn
  • Our challenges and opportunities ahead

Please follow our social media channels and website over the autumn for the latest updates.

OUR MISSION

Our mission is to make outstanding end-of-life care available at no cost to patients and their families, to all those who need it, when they need it.

We have campaigned and spoken out for more than 40 years on behalf of people in our community with life-limiting illnesses.

And thanks to the generosity of all our supporters and volunteers, we have raised millions of pounds since 1977.

This has given thousands of terminally ill patients the care, dignity and respect they need. Funding for palliative and end-of-life care is always under pressure. Our job is to bridge that gap and make a huge difference for our community.

OUR GOALS

Since June, patients have had no access to traditional in-patient hospice care on the Mount Vernon Hospital site.

This follows Care Quality Commission inspectors raising “significant concerns’ about the existing hospice building, owned and managed by the NHS.

So we have clear goals between now and the end of 2018: –

  • To keep fundraising hard for our current day hospice services, based in Michael Sobell Hospice. The day hospice is fully funded by us – and cannot operate without your generous donations.
  • To fight to protect inpatient and day services in a rebuilt, renovated or relocated Michael Sobell Hospice in the north of Hillingdon – with us standing ready to raise capital funds to back an achievable plan.
  • To work with NHS leaders to put concrete proposals on the table by the end of 2018 – patients in our community must see progress and agreement on the way forward over the autumn.
  • To restore hospice care for all patients who need it – it’s inappropriate and unsustainable to put palliative and end-of-life care on an acute cancer ward.
  • To fund amenities for patients in the specialist inpatient unit relocated to Mount Vernon Cancer Centre as and when requested by the on-site NHS care team.

THE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES AHEAD

All the main NHS organisations are reviewing existing and future palliative and end-of-life care in Hillingdon.

And it means Michael Sobell Hospice Charity’s work has never been as important as today.

This follows the Care Quality Commission (CQC) giving a “requires improvement” rating to the overall end-of-life service at Mount Vernon, based on its inspection in April – published in July 2018.

The CQC gave “good” ratings to the overall service being caring and effective but raised specific, significant concerns about the quality of the facilities – all which the NHS needs to address urgently.

In short, the NHS cannot ignore what the inspectors told it.

So it was a tough but understandable decision by East & North Herts. NHS Trust to relocate the hospice inpatient unit temporarily from Michael Sobell Hospice to the main hospital block from June 2018, while a permanent solution is agreed.

We were informed on the intended relocation and raised serious concerns about relocating the in-patient unit with no alternative hospice setting ready to move to. But ultimately, we had to respect the final decision taken by the NHS Trust in charge of patient clinical care.

We are pleased the main local NHS organisations have written jointly to the Save the Michael Sobell Hospice petition organisers. It is right that they acknowledged that patients and loved ones have been upset by the changes; apologise for any uncertainty caused; and commit to minimizing the impact on patients.

NEXT STEPS

Our supporters’ generosity is needed now more than ever.

We remain fully committed to funding palliative and end-of-life care in the day hospice – we meet the full costs of NHS staff and therapists salaries. This gives our patients and carers access to nursing care; advice and support; and complementary, physical and art therapies – as well as funding amenities such as massage oils and art equipment.

We are very grateful for the backing that thousands of local people have shown the charity over the last three months.

We rely on the continued commitment of our supporters, volunteers and staff team.

To underline again – our mission is to make outstanding palliative and end-of-life care available at no cost to patients and their families, to all those who need it, when they need it.

You, patients, carers and our community will always be central to this work.

I can be contacted via info@michaelsobellhospice.co.uk Please sign up via our website with your contact permissions to directly receive our news, in order for us to update our records.

Yours faithfully,

Judi.

Judi Byrne

Chief Executive