Councillor John Riley, who chaired the Hillingdon External Services Select Committee’s public council meeting on 28th February, commented that the Michael Sobell Hospice Charity (MSHC) was at last able to tell its supporters it will be ‘business as usual’ with the inpatient unit set to reopen on the existing Mount Vernon Hospital site in the very near future.

With the Hillingdon Clinical Commissioning Group announcing they are recommissioning end of life care in the Hillingdon borough, the new, improved service, will involve reopening the Northwood-based Hospice inpatient unit as soon as essential refurbishment work can be undertaken and completed. The reopening will, once again, provide an essential service for local people who wish their end of life care to be in a hospice environment.

The East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust will continue to provide hospice care on the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre site whilst plans to identify an alternative provider are finalised. Once a new provider is identified, the Trust will work collaboratively with them to make sure patient care remains a priority and ensure a smooth transition of services.

Harlington Hospice is very keen to be commissioned for the role and has the full backing of MSHC, with the two parties already holding regular meetings to see how they might be able to work together to the best effect. Harlington Hospice has already built up an exemplary track record for supporting end of life care and has received a ‘Good’ rating from the Care Quality Commission for all its assessment criteria.

In parallel, estimates will be prepared for the cost of the work necessary to enable the inpatient unit of Michael Sobell Hospice to reopen. The existing building has only a limited life span as many people will know and it is likely the Charity will need additional financial support in this process, which it is hoped supporters will get behind.

MSHC is now in a position to re-engage with supporters and resume its essential role in financially supporting end of life care in the community, which is valued so highly by so many.

Once the entire Hospice is back up and running again, planning for a longer term strategy will commence.

MSHC continues to fully fund the Day Hospice at Michael Sobell as it always has done, which provides local people with a life-limiting condition the opportunity to spend time with others in a similar situation, in a friendly and caring environment.

Chair of MSHC Trustees, Rosalind Williams, said: “This is such wonderful news. When the Hospice inpatient unit reopens it will be able to provide all the holistic care with which the name Michael Sobell has become associated over the years, coupled with more flexibility and greater choice for our patients. A big thank you to the local community for your campaigning and continued support – over 10,000 voices have been heard.”