NHS chiefs are being urged to come up with concrete proposals for the future of the Michael Sobell Hospice by the end of this year.
The plea comes from the chief executive of the Michael Sobell Hospice charity (MSHC) which funds over £1.6 million a year towards services at the much loved Northwood facility after the NHS decided to relocate the inpatient unit into two main wards at Mount Vernon Hospital.
In a letter to hospice supporters, Judi Byrne says the MSHC want to see the hospice rebuilt, renovated or relocated.
Since June, patients have had no access to traditional inpatient hospice care on the Mount Vernon Hospital site after Care Quality Commission inspectors raised significant concerns about the existing hospice building, owned and managed by the NHS.
Mrs Byrne said the MSHC want to see hospice care restored for all who need it.
The letter reads: “It’s inappropriate and unsustainable to put palliative and end-of-life care on an acute cancer ward.”
Mrs Byrne goes on to say that the MSHC’s charity work has never been as important as it is today
She said: “It was a tough but understandable decision by East & North Hertfordshire 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 the NHS Trust in charge of patient clinical care.”
The hospice fully funds palliative and end-of-life care in the day hospice giving patients and carers access to nursing care; advice and support; and complementary, physical and art therapies.
Thousands of people signed a petition to save the hospice which was launched earlier in the year.