£12.3million Sunderland hospice plan revealed

An artist's impression of the new St Benedict's Hospice
An artist's impression of the new St Benedict's Hospice
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MAJOR plans to build a new £12.3million hospice in Sunderland have been unveiled.

The centre will replace St Benedict’s Hospice, based at Monkwearmouth Hospital, in a move which will boost specialist care for Wearsiders with a terminal illness.

The hospice is set to include 14 inpatient beds and provision for 16 patients in its day-care facility.

There will also be a multi-faith room and plans to provide better facilities for relatives staying overnight.

There will also be a top regional educational facility which will provide training to specialist and general staff to continue improving patient care across the North East.

The new hospice will be built next to Cherry Knowle Hospital and the proposed new mental health hospital that is set to be built on the former Ryhope General Hospital site.

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Sheila Cooper, strategic lead of planned care at Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust (TPCT), said: “The new-build at Ryhope will allow the hospice to continue to provide high quality specialist palliative care for the residents of Sunderland.

“Services will be provided from a first class facility that has been developed especially to meet the needs of this vulnerable patient group, both now and into the future.”

The plans, which are being carried out by NHS South of Tyne and Wear on behalf of Sunderland TPCT, have now been approved by health chiefs.

And, subject to planning permission and formal approval by Sunderland City Council, the new hospice is set to be built by 2013.

There will be a series of drop-in days held next month when the public can find out more about the plans.

Dr Henry Choi, of Sunderland’s Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We aim to involve the local community throughout the project.

“The drop-in days will exhibit the latest designs and provide a chance for local people to find out more about the project and how it will help us to deliver the very best end of life care in Sunderland.”

The current hospice is based at Monkwearmouth Hospital, which is owned by Northumberland, Tyne and Wear Mental Health Foundation Trust.

With demand for beds and care rising, there is a need to expand and improve the facilities currently provided.

A study revealed the current building, which is more than 70-years-old, is dated and not fit for purpose.

* People can view the plans and have their say next month at the Board Room at Monkwearmouth Hospital (main entrance), any time between 9.30am and 1pm, on Wednesday, November 2 and the Training and Community Room at Ryhope Library, Ryhope Health Centre any time between 10am and 3pm on Thursday, November 3.

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