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St Raphael’s Hospice (Cheam)

Volume 570: debated on Wednesday 20 November 2013

The petition relates to the future of St Raphael’s hospice in my constituency, which is being put at risk by the actions of the trustees of the charity that owns it, the Daughters of the Cross. The threat to the hospice, which is much loved and respected, has led staff, volunteers and the families of people who have used it to collect more than 5,900 signatures on a petition calling on the Vatican to intervene. Next week the chair of the hospice’s advisory committee, Dr Ron McKeran, and I will meet the Pope’s representative in this country, the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Mennini, to tell him about the petition and the more than 5,900 signatures collected from the public and urge him to use his good offices to secure a resolution to the dispute between the staff and volunteers and the charity.

The petition states:

The Petition of residents of the UK,

Declares that the future of St Raphael’s hospice has been put in doubt by plans drawn up by Daughters of the Cross, a charity that funds the hospice, and by plans to sell off St Anthony’s hospital, which shares the site with the hospice and provides administrative and other support services worth up to a million pounds a year; further, that the sale of the hospital will break the funding link with the hospice and undermine the Christian character of the institution; further, that the Petitioners regret that rather than engaging with the staff and supporters of the hospice and hospital to find a mutually agreed solution to the future of both institutions, the charity has pursued a course of action that is not widely supported; and further, that the Trustees have failed to grasp that the success and respect in which both institutions are held is the result of a shared endeavour between themselves, the staff and volunteers and the local community who raise and donate the funds to pay for them.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons thanks Her Majesty’s Government for raising the matter with the relevant authorities in the Vatican; further, that the House urges the Papal authorities to intervene to protect the ethos of St Anthony’s hospital and its special relationship with St Raphael’s hospice; and further, that the House holds a debate on the future of St Raphael’s hospice and possible ways forward.

And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.