Jo urges independent review on St Margaret’s Hospice

Hospice campaigners presented a petition to 10 Downing St last year

Jo Swinson has urged Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon to intervene to end the uncertainty over the future of St Margaret’s Hospice.

In a letter to Nicola Sturgeon, Jo has pressed the Health Secretary to set up and independent review to investigate the proposals for the Hospice put forward by Greater Glasgow Health Board and the Hospice itself.

Jo, who met with Hospice staff just before Christmas, has also expressed deep concern about the breakdown of relations between the Hospice and the Health Board.

Commenting, she said:

“No one disagrees that St Margaret’s Hospice offers excellent palliative and end-of-life care, but with the situation around the Hospice’s funding having stalled, the real losers are the patients facing an uncertain future.

“The current situation cannot continue. I believe the way to break the present impasse would be for the Health Secretary to establish an independent review of the situation. The Health Board and the Hospice have both put forward a set of proposals that must be independently examined so that the future of the Hospice can be settled through a credible and transparent process.

“I strongly believe every effort must be made to save the first-class services provided at St Margaret’s Hospice. That is why the next step must be to seek and independent review to move beyond the current situation.”

A copy of the letter to Nicola Sturgeon MSP is below:

Nicola Sturgeon MSP

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing

St. Andrew’s House

Regent Road

Edinburgh EH1 3DG

Dear Nicola,

St Margaret’s Hospice, Clydebank

Further to our previous correspondence about St Margaret’s Hospice in Clydebank, I am deeply concerned about the lack of progress on this matter. Relations between Greater Glasgow Health Board and St Margaret’s Hospice are not working well, and any goodwill there was has evaporated.

The Health Board maintain that the hospice have not responded to their proposals. Members of the hospice staff have told me of their frustration that while they have responded to proposals from GGHB, these have been ignored and then denied to even exist. Communication has broken down.

No one disagrees that St Margaret’s Hospice offers excellent palliative and end-of-life care, and the huge support, both political and financial, from the local community who have used their services is a testament to this. The disagreements come over the projected bed numbers that will be required in future for continuing care, and where care would be best provided.

Given the stalemate, I hope you will intervene to order an independent review of the situation, to investigate the proposals put forward by the Health Board and by the hospice, and make recommendations accordingly.

As Health Secretary, I know you will not want to jeopardise services for elderly patients and their families at what is already a distressing time for all involved. An independent review would help to restore confidence on all sides.

Yours Sincerely,

Jo Swinson MP

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