A BATTLE to protect hospice services in Hillingdon is intensifying.

It follows relocation by the NHS of the 10-bed in-patient unit from Michael Sobell Hospice in Northwood to the adjacent Mount Vernon Hospital.

This was originally a temporary move in response to “significant concerns” raised by the Care Quality Commission about the Sobell site .

But the charity is pushing for NHS managers to publish firm proposals for the future of hospice care by the end of the year.

Sobell chief executive Judi Byrne this week appealed to all the charity’s registered supporters and volunteers to support the effort.

She says the charity has a number of clear goals. They include:

  • To protect in-patient and day services in a rebuilt, renovated or relocated Michael Sobell Hospice in the north of Hillingdon
  • To restore hospice care for all patients who need it as it is “inappropriate and unsustainable to put palliative and end-of-life care on an acute cancer ward”.
  • To fund amenities for patients in the unit relocated to Mount Vernon as and when requested by the on-site care team.

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“It was a tough but understandable decision to relocate the in-patient unit temporarily while a permanent solution is agreed,” she acknowledged.

“We raised serious concerns about relocating the unit with no alternative hospice setting ready to move to. But, ultimately, we had to respect the decision.”

She said they remained fully committed to funding palliative and end-of-life care in the day hospice.

“We are very grateful for the backing that thousands of local people have shown the charity over the last three months,” added the chief executive.

“Our mission is to make outstanding palliative and end-of-life care available at no cost to patients and their families, to all those who need it, when they need it.

“You, patients, carers and our community will always be central to this work.”