WestEndExtra

The independent London newspaper

Son takes up the fight to save hospice

‘A special place that makes a difference to terminally-ill patients…’

04 October, 2019 — By Tom Foot

Chad and Theresa Parsons

A CAMPAIGN has been launched to save a hospice from closure.

The Pembridge Hospice, Ladbroke Grove, was temporarily shut last year because of “staff shortages” but now health bosses want it gone for good.

The move to decommission the 60-staff service follows recommendations made by a private company hired to carry out a review on behalf of NHS chiefs.

Chad Parsons, whose mother died of cancer in the hospice, told the Extra: “I feel heartbroken for a special place that make a difference to terminally-ill patients and their family and friends, as I know from personal experience. It is disgusting and that is why I have to take it upon myself to fight to save the Pembridge Hospice.”

The NHS-funded hospice helps dying patients with 13 beds and 45 volunteers on top of the 60 full-time staff working there. NHS chiefs said beds were not always full and nearby hospices could meet demand.

But Mr Parsons said he would not have got through “the hardest time of my life without the special people at the Pembridge”, and added: “That’s why every year me and my family return to the unit to give them a little something to say thank you.”

This year he returned with a box chocolates for staff for looking after his mother Theresa Parsons, but found the unit in darkness.

A petition to save the Pembridge has been signed by 1,700 people after the “independent review” was carried out by PJH4 Consulting, on behalf of the NHS Central London Clinical Commissioning Group (CLCCG).

The hospice is run by the Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust (CLCH), a charity providing services to the NHS.

Penny Hansford, a former hospice charity chief who is the sole director of the consultancy firm PJH4, which was set up last November, concluded in her review: “I am recommending a reduction in specialist palliative care beds. These are not currently fully utilised. Since the Pembridge Hospice inpatient unit has been closed the majority of patients have been successfully admitted to surrounding hospices.”

Short-term bed occupancy statistics are often used to close wards in hospitals, but demand can fluctuate.

Neville Pursell, chair of CLCCG, said: “We will work together with our local stakeholders, partners, patients, families and carers to consider the opportunities for improvement highlighted by the review.”

The CLCCG said Ms Hansford was appointed to the role because of her “extensive experience in this specialist area, having held the position of director of nursing at St Christopher’s Hospice in south London for 18 years”.

CLCH chief executive Andrew Ridley said its staff and patients remained its “absolute priority”, adding: The inpatient unit which closed because of lack of consultant medical cover will remain closed pending the outcome of the review. Our community-based services and day hospice continue to operate normally.”

A public meeting is to be held about the changes at Museum of Brands, in Ladbroke Grove, on October 24.

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