1. ITV Report

South Tyneside hospice closes

St Clare's Hospice in Jarrow. Credit: Google Maps

An independent hospice in South Tyneside has closed.

St Clare’s Hospice in Jarrow shut its doors following a decision to enter into insolvent liquidation.

The charitable trust which runs the hospice has said it faced severe financial difficulties for several years, which was made worse by a prolonged period of closure last year, leaving it insolvent.

The hospice has annual operating costs of £2.2m and usually raises £1.8m each year through voluntary giving, with the balance coming from the contracts with the South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

The closure of the hospice’s in-patient and day services for four months last year severely restricted fund raising.

Paul Jones-King, the hospice's chief executive, said:

It is with the deepest regret that we have had to take this decision, but we have no option given the financial position.

We know it is devastating news for our employees, our volunteers and our patients and we have done all we can to avoid this situation. However our focus now is on making sure our employees and volunteers are appropriately looked after.

We are working closely with all health system partners to urgently discuss what alternative arrangements can be put in place for people in South Tyneside who need palliative and end of life care.

The Hospice has provided an In-Patient service, Wellbeing Centre and Bereavement Counselling service for almost 30 years. We would like to express our thanks to all who have been part of our St Clare’s Hospice community over the last 30 years and who have supported us throughout that time. The Hospice has provided care and support to around 5,000 families in South Tyneside over the years, something only made possible by our dedicated team of staff and volunteers and the generosity of our local community.

– Paul Jones-King, St Clare's Hospice

Tracey Bleakley, chief executive of Hospice UK, added:

We are very sorry to hear that St Clare’s Hospice in Jarrow is closing.

We understand this is a difficult time for the hospice’s staff and those who have supported its work in the local community.

It is good that the hospice is working with other local care providers and commissioners to ensure that there is appropriate alternative care for people with terminal and life-limiting conditions in the area.

The current economic climate is challenging for many hospices which are operating in a very tough fundraising environment whilst supporting a growing older population and amidst pressures on the wider healthcare system.

– Tracey Bleakley, Hospice UK