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Palliative care at Primrose Terrace, Jarrow

Volume 686: debated on Wednesday 16 December 2020

The petition of residents of the constituency of Jarrow.

Declares that it is vital that high quality, compassionate palliative and end-of-life care is accessible across the country; further declares that each person who is nearing the end of their life should feel safe in the knowledge they will receive the very best care and be supported to die peacefully and painlessly; notes that in the Jarrow constituency, St Clare’s hospice collapsed into insolvency in January 2019 after more than 30 years, leaving the borough without an end-of-life care facility; and further notes that a petition requesting to keep palliative care at the Primrose Terrace site in Jarrow, rather than setting up an alternative site elsewhere within the borough, has received 13,500 signatures.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to support the NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group in reopening the St Clare’s hospice site at Primrose Terrace, Jarrow.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Kate Osborne, Official Report, 8 September 2020; Vol. 679, c. 584.][P002595]

Observations from The Minister for Care (Helen Whately):

It is crucial that residents of the constituency of Jarrow and their families receive high quality and dignified care as they approach the end of life. The Government are aware that, following St Clare’s closure in January 2019, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), local NHS commissioners and trusts, local hospices and Hospice UK worked hard to develop a sustainable solution for St Clare’s hospice, in partnership with its management team.

We know that despite these efforts, St Clare’s financial position, sadly, could not be saved.

The priority for commissioners following the closure was to ensure that the vulnerable patients relying on the hospice could get the support they need. Following closure, arrangements were put in place to ensure that patients could access high quality services both with hospices in neighbouring areas, and with South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust.

Over the last 19 months, local commissioners have been exploring a range of viable options for effective new palliative care services locally. The commissioners overseeing the development of viable options have undertaken a co-design process and determined that a greater focus on community services will allow for the provision of better support for those who require care locally.

At the end of September 2020, south Tyneside CCG governing body approved plans for a new range of end of life services. A £1.5 million annual investment was approved, which will provide improved end of life services for people who prefer to die at home, as well as a suite of “home from home” end of life bedrooms at Haven Court, a purpose built care facility, in South Shields.

Funding for hospices and end of life care is a local matter for CCGs, and the Government believe commissioners are best placed to make funding decisions according to the needs of resident populations in their area.


St Clare’s hospice was located at the Primrose Terrace site in Jarrow. Following a CQC inspection in September 2018, St Clare’s hospice was rated as inadequate overall. The hospice was rated as requiring improvement in 2016 and had deteriorated since then.

Inspectors raised a number of concerns, including significant safety issues in areas such as medicines management, incident investigation and risk identification. Improvements were needed in key areas including clinical leadership and governance, which included auditing procedures and staff training and development.

St Clare’s hospice was a standalone hospice provider, which was a charitable incorporated organisation that received over 40% of its funding from the local commissioning group. The hospice had been operational since 1987, was based in Jarrow and offered specialist palliative care for adults who lived south of the Tyne. The service operated both day hospice and inpatient hospice services, and provided palliative and end of life care for over 451 patients.

The hospice had been running at a significant loss for several years, and in the months prior to closure had been working hard with numerous partners to find a solution. Even with these best efforts, the decision was made that the liabilities were such that the organisation could not be saved by further cost savings or reconfiguration.

The co-design exercise undertaken by south Tyneside CCG clarified that residents in the area needed expanded support in the community and at home, and required a bedded facility in the area. As such, the governing body of South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) approved a £1.5 million annual investment, which will provide improved end of life services for people who prefer to die at home, as well as a suite of “home from home” end of life bedrooms at Haven Court, a purpose-built care services facility with a private garden, and car park. Haven Court is in South Tyneside, but is in the constituency of South Shields, unlike the previous hospice which was located in Jarrow.