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St Margaret's Hospice announces closure of 12-bed inpatient unit, putting 48 jobs at risk

Staff were told today that 48 jobs are at risk following the decision

St Margaret's Hospice Care has confirmed it will no longer provide twelve in-patient beds at its Yeovil hospice, putting 48 jobs at risk.

The proposals were first revealed in July, and this afternoon (Wednesday, October 9) the Board of Trustees made the decision to go ahead.

The charity will, however, open four extra beds at its hospice in Taunton. Bosses have also said there are plans to increase community work.

The charity will however open four extra beds at its hospice in Taunton.

Jonathan Langdon, Acting Chairman of St Margaret’s Hospice Care, said:

Over the last 11 weeks the Board of Trustees and executive team at St Margaret’s have engaged and listened thoroughly to our stakeholders across Somerset. We have carried out an internal consultation process with our staff through their unions. The Board of Trustees have also met the MP for Yeovil and other lobbying groups as well as holding a well-attended public meeting in August.

It has been a challenging time for staff, patients and volunteers potentially affected by the proposal and we, of course, are continuing to listen and support them. The consultation process also continues with staff.

– Jonathan Langdon
The original plans were announced in July

In July, Ann Lee, the CEO said:

We believe the changes we are proposing today are necessary to ensure we can continue to deliver outstanding care to people facing life-limiting illnesses across Somerset while living within our means.

Bringing all our in-patient beds under one roof in Taunton will help to overcome ongoing recruitment challenges, which have made it increasingly difficult for us to ensure adequate medical staffing cover at our Yeovil In-patient Unit.

The amount of money we spend on clinical services is increasing, and so is the demand for our care. NHS funding currently covers 31 per cent of the costs of delivering our care, resulting in us relying heavily on the generosity and support of our local community. In common with many hospices across the UK, our fundraising and retail teams are experiencing a very challenging economic climate. We have been working hard to grow our income and control costs, but we also need to review our clinical services to ensure St Margaret’s Hospice Care has a sustainable future.

– ANN LEE, CEO

Campaigners against the closure said they were disappointed, saying patients would suffer.

In its place they (the hospice) wish to double the amount of care within the community.

Whilst the community care workers offer a great service, this does not match the standard or the role of those who work in the in patient unit.

The community workers are not there to be hands on, so how can this even compensate the closure of the in patient unit?

They would like to create a dedicated hospice bed in both Wincanton and South Petherton, with 24/7 care available.

This service might be 24/7 but patients WILL NOT receive on the spot care like they would if they were a patient in the in patient unit.

– Supporters response