Friday, 12 August 2022

Patient launches petition to stop hospice closure

Patient launches petition to stop hospice closure

A WOMAN has started a petition to try to stop the closure of the Sue Ryder hospice in Nettlebed.

Lynne Carter, 69, from Turville Heath, is appealing to the charity to reverse its decision to sell Joyce Grove and its 27 acres of grounds.

Sue Ryder plans to sell the Grade II listed building in the next two years as it wants to focus on caring for people at home, saying that is what patients now want.

It has launched a hospice at home service and plans to find a new community “hub” in the area. The beds will be relocated, possibly to more than one location.

Sue Ryder also said the hospice was expensive to maintain and isolated, especially in bad weather, and the facilities were out of date.

Mrs Carter, who was diagnosed with terminal peritoneal cancer in January 2014, attends day care at the hospice every Tuesday, where patients can spend time with specialist nurses, counsellors and physiotherapists and take part in alternative therapies and group activities such as art, yoga and Pilates.

She says that many patients want this service to continue and do not want home care.

Her online petition, which has 30 signatures so far, says: “The Sue Ryder Foundation have said they are closing their hospice at Nettlebed due to running costs.

“The local community are about to lose a much-loved facility which, in a unique way, has provided help and support to cancer victims and their families for many years.”

Mrs Carter said: “I don’t understand whether money is the issue or if people do want care at home.

“I have done my own survey and I think I know the answer. That’s why I have done the petition to the Government asking for support for the hospice. They may be able to help with funding.”

She used Health Unlocked, an online social network, to ask fellow cancer sufferers if they would prefer to die at home or in a hospice and most respondents chose the latter.

Mrs Carter said: “I only posted it on Friday and I had 27 replies, the most I have ever had. Most said they do not want to die at home. Some said they had experience of a relative dying at home and how awful it was.

“The sale is going to bring in a lot of money for Sue Ryder. There are 27 acres there so they could retain some of it for a purpose-built hospice.”

Mrs Carter said Sue Ryder should find a suitable new place for patients before Joyce Grove was sold.

She said: “They need to find us another place so we know beforehand where we are going to go and that we are going to get the same facilities.

“I am honestly terrified now. I don’t know what’s going to happen and it’s really, really frightening.

“I don’t want to go to a bed in Didcot or Wallingford, to a place I have never been before. I don’t want to go to a strange place. I want to know where I am going and that my family will be there.

“You have to plan these things and you don’t want it being last minute.”

Mrs Carter added: “I’m happy to stand in Falaise Square with a petition and if anyone wants a petition I would be happy to supply them. I feel Sue Ryder have got it wrong.”

The charity’s new hospice at home and 24-hour phone line for end-of-life patients is in addition to the 111 urgent care service it also now runs.

The schemes have been launched in conjunction with the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and will initially cover south-east Oxfordshire, including Henley, Sonning Common, Wallingford and Thame.

A Sue Ryder spokeswoman said: “The reason we have decided to sell the Nettlebed hospice is not due to lack of funding but due to a change in the demand for care.

“Over recent years demand for inpatient and day services at Nettlebed has declined at the same time as demand for our community services has grown.

“As a result of this we are introducing a new hospice at home service designed to enable patients to be cared for in their preferred place which, for the majority of individuals, is home.

“We know that there will always be a need for some patients to be cared for in a hospice setting and we are looking at options for future bed provision. The Nettlebed hospice will continue to provide outstanding care while we launch the community services and identify future inpatient beds.

“Sue Ryder is investing in services in South Oxfordshire and these plans mean that we will be able to provide more care to more people.”

To sign Mrs Carter’s petition, visit

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