Work starts on new Sunderland hospice

Cutting of the sod at St Benedict's Hospice
Cutting of the sod at St Benedict's Hospice
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CONSTRUCTION of a new multimillion-pound Wearside hospice is under way.

When finished, St Benedict’s Hospice, in Ryhope, will provide specilialist care for some of the city’s most seriously ill patients.

Work on the building began following a traditional cutting of the sod ceremony by Sue Winfield, vice-chairman of NHS South of Tyne and Wear Primary Care Trust, and Derek Moss, chairman of St Benedict’s Hospice Board of Trustees.

The new facility, which is being relocated from Newcastle Road, in Monkwearmouth, will be the first purpose-built hospice for Sunderland, providing specialist services for those terminally ill.

The hospice, which is also supported by charitable donations, will accommodate the current services provided at Newcastle Road, providing 14 single-occupancy beds, day care and outpatient services as well as a new education centre.

A number of community nursing teams will also be based at the site.

The hospice is being built after Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust pledged more than £12 million to the development.

Plans for the new building have been developed through the co-operation of numerous organisations, including NHS South of Tyne and Wear and Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust.

Dr Henry Choi, who is part of Sunderland’s NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, which will take over commissioning responsibilities of the hospice from April 2013, said: “This project has been taken forward through a partnership approach with representatives from Sunderland local authority, general practitioners and the Hospice Board of Trustees working closely with service users and their families.”

Sheila Alexander, NHS South of Tyne and Wear’s Strategic Lead for Planned Care, said: “The new St Benedict’s Hospice will provide a modern state-of-the-art facility for one of the most vulnerable patient groups.

“It will continue to provide high-quality palliative care for the residents of Sunderland within a first-class facility that has been developed especially to meet the needs of patients, now and into the future.”

Building work at St Benedict’s is expected to be completed by April of next year, when existing facilities at the Newcastle Road site will move across.

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho