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ON TRACK: End-of-life care hub to open by the end of the year

ON TRACK: End-of-life care hub to open by the end of the year

Haven Court, South Tyneside District Hospital, South Shields, Image: LDRS

A new end-of-life care hub in South Tyneside to replace St Clare’s Hospice is on track to open by the end of the year.

In recent months, work has been taking place on a dedicated facility at Haven Court within the South Tyneside District Hospital site.

This forms part of a clinical model which was signed off by NHS bosses in September 2020, including a hospice-style facility and enhanced home and community care.

Plans aimed to fill the gap in provision left by the loss of Jarrow’s St Clare’s Hospice, which shut down in January 2019 after the independent charity that ran it collapsed into insolvency.

The planned service at Haven Court was recently amended following feedback, with the number of bedrooms increased from four to six alongside moving specialist bedrooms to a quieter part of the building on the ground floor.

At a meeting of South Tyneside Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Coordinating and Call-in (OSCC) Committee on Tuesday (October 5), health bosses confirmed the facility was expected to open by the end of 2020.

Councillors were told that recruitment and estates works to make the hub ready for patients was ongoing.

It was also confirmed that the number of beds at Haven Court would be kept under review in response to future demand.

Councillor Paul Milburn said it was “refreshing” to see the changes to the facility at Haven Court following feedback and that health chiefs were “listening to what people were saying.”

Councillor Geraldine Kilgour also welcomed the provision and said it was “absolutely critical that it comes online soon.”

But she added it was important for the new facility to have a name rather than being referred to as a “unit.”

Cllr Kilgour went on to say:“Are we going to give it a name? It’s a very emotive provision and it’s very crucial to us at the end of life and our palliative care is at the centre of everything that we do.”

Nicola Morrow, Commissioning Delivery Manager at North of England  Commissioning  Support, said there would be public engagement with support from charity Macmillan around the naming of the facility.

The health boss added: “In terms of timelines, we’re hoping to kick that process off fairly quickly because the hope is to have patients in the unit by the end of this calendar year.”

Haven Court is a state-of-the-art building in its own separate area of the South Tyneside District Hospital site with its own private garden, car park and entrance.

The proposed ‘home-from-home’ bedrooms will benefit from a dedicated family and carer suite with catering facilities, so that people can be close to their loved ones.

The service will also include physio and occupational therapies, and NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been working to provide an enhanced level of complementary therapies, counselling and chaplaincy services.

A progress report on Haven Court and wider changes to palliative care was presented to South Tyneside CCG’s governing body back in July 2021.

At the time Matt Brown, executive director of operations at the CCG, said the new model for palliative care aimed to deliver something that’s “fit for the future and avoids the mistakes in the past.”

He added: “I think we have really high aspirations for the services we deliver for the people of South Tyneside.

“The challenge has been getting really sustainable, real-world solutions to meet the aspirations that we have and I hope we have got that.”


Words: Chris Binding, Local Democracy Reporter

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