For the last forty years, Michael Sobell Hospice (MSH) has been a vital supporter of end of life and palliative care services from its site at Mount Vernon Hospital, Northwood. Many hundreds of patients have passed through its inpatient and day care services and the feedback from patients, their families and carers, has shown that Michael Sobell Hospice Charity (MSHC) has played a huge part in enabling these services to continue in our community.

The inpatient part of the building has now sadly reached the end of its useful life as major structural problems have emerged. In partnership with the East & North Herts NHS Trust, it has been decided that the inpatient service will be relocated into two main wards in the main part of Mount Vernon Hospital on an interim basis. Despite this, the Charity has made the funds available to ensure that no patient receiving palliative care at present will be affected.

Fortunately, the Day Care centre, which is completely funded by the Charity, will remain on its existing site at MSH. This enables patients as well as carers to access much needed nursing care, a friendly environment, advice and other complementary therapies. These support services are crucial for all of us as we approach the end of our lives, and form an increasingly important part of palliative care.

MSHC is committed to addressing the ever-growing palliative care needs of our community, and as well as continuing to support existing services will be looking to see what options might be considered for the future provision of care. We will therefore be conducting a formal needs analysis with the NHS to consider what can be done over and above what the NHS can afford to provide for end of life care service for people in our local area with several options currently under review.

The Charity’s work has only been possible through the support and generous donations from our community, firstly from the Sobell family and over the past four decades from many, many people and businesses in our local area.

The Michael Sobell Charity shops and warehouse have grown in importance in recent times, staffed by a loyal and determined band of volunteers. Indeed, our volunteer army who help organise fundraising events throughout the year, such as our annual Golf day at Sandy Lodge and the long-running Ladies in the Night Walk event which takes place on Friday 15th June this year, have made this whole effort possible.

We all know we are living longer, but don’t always have the family support that existed a generation ago. At times of illness and when we must make difficult decisions, from pain management to the end of life care of loved ones, we all need help both practical and emotional, Michael Sobell Hospice Charity aims to provide the funding to support these essential services and will continue to need the vital support of future funding from our dedicated, loyal and passionate supporters as well as our wonderful volunteers.

NHS funding will always be under pressure, and as a Charity going forward, we believe we can continue to make a huge difference in our community, now and in the future.