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To: The East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust

Save the Michael Sobell Hospice.

UPDATE 03/03/19 Great news!

The Clinical Commissioning Group announced that they are recommissioning end of life care in the borough. The new, improved, service will involve reopening the Michael Sobell Hospice as soon as the necessary formalities and essential refurbishment work can be completed. The planned service will not only provide for people who wish to die in a hospice environment but also for those who wish to die at home. Harlington Hospice have already built up an exemplary track record for supporting the latter. They have received a ‘Good’ rating from the Care Quality Commission for all of their assessment criteria.

East and North Herts announced their intention of withdrawing from running the Michael Sobell Hospice in the future. However they said that they are prepared to discuss how they can work with the new provider. Harlington Hospice are very keen to be commissioned for this role. They have the full backing of the Michael Sobell Hospice Charity and the two are already having regular meetings to see how they might be able to work together to the best effect.

Councillor John Riley, who chaired the meeting, said that the Michael Sobell Hospice Charity was at last able to tell its supporters that it is ‘business as usual’. When the hospice very soon reopens it will be able to provide all the holistic care with which the name Michael Sobell has become associated over the years, but coupled with more flexibility and greater choice for its patients. The Michael Sobell Hospice Charity is now in a position to re-engage with its supporters and resume its essential role in financially supporting the end of life care the local community values so highly.


Terry Dean

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.

This issue should be of NATIONWIDE CONCEN, we cannot stand by and allow the humanity to be taken out of decisions that effect us all, no matter what the financial pressures might be.
Now is the time to mobilise public opinion while the powers that control the NHS contemplate how best to use their £20bn “birthday present.” We need to petition East and North Herts NHS Trust and make our feelings known before a decision is made that wipes the Michael Sobell Hospice off the face of the earth for ever. The NHS would then lose the ability to provide the sort of care for end-of-life patients that the community works so hard to support. It stands to lose the services of the dedicated people that tend the gardens, and look after the aviary and aquarium, and all the people that strive to raise funds to provide all manner of small comforts for the inpatients. The NHS stands on the brink of losing the additional funding generated by the Charity that supports the hospice which allows its limited resources to go that little bit further. But most importantly we need to show the NHS the strength of public opinion before it makes an irreversible decision that will deny many of our loved-ones access to the final demonstration of our community’s love and compassion that is offered by our hospices.


The Board of Trustees of the Michael Sobell Hospice Charity have announced that they have set up an Advisory working group as part of their “listening and engagement” exercise. In order to help them in their desire to “spread a wide net to capture not only local views but also consider the national picture for palliative and end of life care’”, we have compiled a short survey. To complete it copy and paste the following link into your browser.

You are also able to find the SURVEY on the newly created Save My Safe Haven website: where we will be posting the results.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE try and complete the SURVEY in time for the meeting the Michael Sobell House Charity has planned for later on in August.

Any questions please email us at [email protected]

How it will be delivered

We have delivered an interim version of the petition. But we want to get to 10,000 signatures!

If you want to be kept informed on our progress make sure to select the option 'Yes, keep me informed by email.' You can easily opt out later.

Keep signing the petition!



2019-03-04 09:52:08 +0000

Petition is successful with 10,126 signatures

2018-11-26 12:21:57 +0000

10,000 signatures reached

2018-08-23 08:36:40 +0100

2018-07-02 06:53:04 +0100

5,000 signatures reached

2018-06-20 20:58:50 +0100

1,000 signatures reached

2018-06-20 13:26:06 +0100

500 signatures reached

2018-06-20 06:43:37 +0100

100 signatures reached

2018-06-19 23:09:40 +0100

50 signatures reached

2018-06-19 21:07:07 +0100

25 signatures reached

2018-06-19 17:28:09 +0100

10 signatures reached