A TOPPING out ceremony has marked a major milestone in the building of a new £12million hospice.
St Benedict’s Hospice, in Newcastle Road, Monkwearmouth, will move to the new facility in April next year.
The building will provide 14 in-patient beds as well as support for as many as 16 patients in a day-care facility.
There will also be a specialist education centre, providing training to staff in a bid to improve care for the terminally ill across the region.
Dr Henry Choi, of Sunderland’s NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This facility will benefit the people of Sunderland for many years to come and we are proud to be part of such a collaborative project.
“It will provide a first rate facility for some of our most vulnerable patients.”
NHS South of Tyne and Wear has worked partner organisations and consulted with the families of patients to develop the multi-million pound facility.
The plans were unveiled in October last year, after a report found the current St Benedict’s building was out-dated and not fit for purpose.
A growing demand for beds was also cited as a reason the move to a bigger building was essential.
Based at Monkwearmouth Hospital, the hospice is run by Northumberland, Tyne and Wear Mental Health Foundation Trust.
NHS South of Tyne and Wear will take over the running of St Benedict’s when the new building opens next year, on behalf of Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust (TPCT).
Speaking last year, TPCT’s Sheila Cooper said: “The new-build will allow the hospice to provide high-quality specialist palliative care.”