SUE RYDER – Statement from the CCG

Latest Announcement from the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group on End of Life Care

When Sue Ryder announced its intention to sell the Nettlebed Hospice (Joyce Grove) building two years ago, it did indicate at the time that it would investigate an alternative location for inpatient hospice beds in South Oxfordshire.

Sue Ryder has subsequently taken the decision to close its inpatient unit at Joyce Grove by the end of March 2020. OCCG had, prior to this notification, been collaborating with Sue Ryder, exploring options for siting a unit in existing NHS locations. OCCG does, however, understand the concerns raised by Sue Ryder over the safe and effective size of an inpatient unit to be viable, and the unsuitability of its current Nettlebed building.

To clarify, the Sue Ryder South Oxfordshire Palliative Care Hub is the umbrella name for a range of palliative care services the charity provides from its Nettlebed building including:

  • an inpatient unit
  • a Hospice at Home service
  • a Day Hospice
  • a care co-ordination and advice line
  • physiotherapists
  • occupational therapists
  • a family support team
  • a befriending team

The inpatient unit in Nettlebed is due to close at the end of this month but Sue Ryder will continue to provide day and community services from Nettlebed until an alternative location for those services is arranged in South Oxfordshire. An announcement by Sue Ryder is expected shortly.

The continued expansion of and demand for hospice at home service by patients and their families has seen a significant fall in demand for inpatient care over the last two years. Although most patients are choosing hospice at-home care, there is a small number of people with complex medical needs for whom inpatient care is necessary and appropriate. Sobell House Hospice and Katharine House Hospice continue to operate inpatient units where local GPs or hospitals can refer Oxfordshire patients. Should there be a need for beds that cannot be supported within Oxfordshire, Sue Ryder could look to offer beds at the Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice in Reading.

OCCG is continuing to work with Sue Ryder and other health providers to determine the future of palliative and end of life care in the county and we are actively exploring innovative ways to provide palliative care support to existing inpatient facilities in local communities.

Patients are referred to Sue Ryder hospice services via local GPs, or by the hospital where they are being treated. Once in Sue Ryder’s care, most people are now supported at home and/or take advantage of the community day services at Joyce Grove (until those services are moved elsewhere in South Oxfordshire).
Any decision about inpatient care is made by Sue Ryder’s clinicians and specialist staff according to a patient’s particular circumstances and medical needs. These inpatient numbers are now very small, although the number of patients referred to the Sue Ryder community service has increased.

Referrals into community team incl hospice at home :

  • April – December 2018: 253
  • April – December 2019: 388

It is the clinical commissioning group’s duty to ensure that alternative service provision is available. The very small number of people in South Oxfordshire who may need inpatient hospice care will have alternative provision as outlined earlier.

Both Sue Ryder and OCCG have communicated the decision to close the inpatient beds at Nettlebed Hospice to a wide variety of local stakeholders, including local GPs and other health providers who refer people into Sue Ryder’s services.
People who are already under the care of Sue Ryder are aware of the new arrangements.

This statement has been released by the CCG


Please note: The Oxon Clinical Commissioning Group (or CCG) commission and pay for NHS services, including End of Life/Palliative Care, across Oxfordshire

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