The Townlands Steering Group have met representatives of the Oxon Clinical Commissioning Group Deputy CEO and End of Life lead to hear clarification of the status of the Hospice and End of Life care in SE Oxfordshire as the Sue Ryder Hospice at Nettlebed is due to close on Tuesday (31 March).
The CCG explained that although the remaining 6 beds would be closed, the Joyce Grove hospice at Nettlebed would continue to operate the other equally important services: the Day Service, the Helpline as well as the administrative hub for the Hospice at Home service.
Although there remain serious concerns around the loss of the beds, the continuation of these other services will come as a real relief to the many patients and families in need of End of Life/Palliative care services in this part of Oxfordshire.
Chair of the TSG, Councillor Ian Reissman said, “The CCG managers explained that they were continuing to examine future arrangements and ensure that patients need for beds as well as the other services will continue to be met. The CCG were clear that there would be no lack of continuity for Day Service, the Helpline and administrative hub for the Hospice at Home service. The CCG recognised that the evidence base to support the change to the bedded End Of Life/Palliative care services existed and undertook to share as much data as possible with the TSG and the community. The CCG also accepted that closure of beds should be reconsidered at this time of major crisis and undertook to discuss this with Sue Ryder.
The TSG will continue to raise community community concerns with the CCG and other stakeholders to ensure that this vital service continues to meet the needs of patients and ensure that the community are reassured that their needs are being met.
We asked for a statement by Sue Ryder and have not yet received a reply. We will publish this, here as and when we receive it.
With the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson announcing this week that the Excel conference centre in London will be transformed into a 4,000 bedded hospital to meet the surge that is expected with people requiring hospitalisation for Covid-19, we asked Ian about whether the top floor of Townlands, which is empty, is being considered.
He replied, “I am in contact with the CCG and have asked them to consider this. The main difficulty will be finding staff. That point was made very clearly by Diane Hedges (CCG Deputy CEO) when we met on 12 March. It seems to me an obviously helpful way to increase NHS capacity to deal with the overwhelming number of patients which will need treating and/or End of Life care over the next few months.”