5,000 signatures reached
To: The East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust
Save the Michael Sobell Hospice.
Find a way to replace the current Michael Sobell Hospice building that has come to the end of its life. (Or has it?)
Why is this important?
Forty one years ago Michael Sobell had a vision. A vision of a hospice where people would be able to spend the last few days of their life with all the staff and facilities that were needed to hand, in an environment that was as pleasant as possible. An environment with beautiful plants growing indoors as well as in the peaceful, tranquil gardens, a calming aquarium, and an aviary where colourful, birds flit from branch to branch and sing. An environment far removed from the usual, purely functional, antiseptic hospital ward, and a level of 24 hour care far more effective than that which could ever be provided at home.
In 1977 Michael Sobell was moved enough to donate £1 million of his own money so that his vision could be achieved. A building was erected which provided an environment that was as homely as possible, friendly, and even inspirational, but a building with an expected life span of only 20 years. It has been tended and cared for by a dedicated team of staff and volunteers for 41 years. But now here we are and the inevitable day has finally arrived and the building needs to be demolished, and yet there is no plan in place to allow this much appreciated facility to continue.
“Care in the community” undoubtedly has its benefits, but the phrase often seems to be used in a cynical way to slash costs and justify closing facilities. But it is totally inappropriate and unacceptable for end-of-life care. We are in danger of letting down not only Michael Sobell, the inpatients, and their families, but also the trustees, staff, and volunteers who have tended and cared for the hospice all these years - not to mention all those who have sacrificed their time, and risen to many a challenge, to raise funds in support. We must not lose sight of Michael Sobell's vision; the NHS needs to demonstrate that it still has a heart and soul. Otherwise we will just end up where we started 41 years ago. We cannot allow hospices to be closed up and down the country. We must not short-change all those people for whom the cards of life played out badly.
ANY VIEWS I EXPRESS ARE MY OWN AND OTHER PARTIES MAY WISH TO EXPRESS DIFFERENT VIEWS.
I recently sent an email to the trustees of the Friends of Michael Sobell House charity. In it I offered my assistance in trying to sort out the confusion and sense of mistrust that has been generated by the conflicting information surrounding the reasons for the closure of the hospice. I offered to assist in the preparation of a public statement which would help clear up the confusion whilst being in line with the wishes of all the people who have signed this petition. To this end I requested to be elected to the Board of Trustees so every person who wished could have clear sight of all the factors that have led to the current sorry state of affairs. I am totally committed to the aim of trying to preserve the Michael Sobell Hospice in the form that it has existed until very recently, and the form which I believe the vast majority of donors and fundraisers have contributed towards preserving over the last forty-one years. I hope the trustees see this request not only as a genuine attempt to achieve this aim but also an opportunity for reconciliation and a chance for all who share this aim to rally together.
I am currently awaiting a reply and will keep you informed of their response.
How it will be delivered
We have delivered an interim version of the petition. But we want to get to 10,000 signatures!
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