Mighty blow for local hospices

WHILE progress on the new hospice facility in Woking is well underway, the state-of-the-art resources will be facing extra pressure now that a property company has indicated the charity’s Weybridge element will face an unexpected annual bill of more than £300,000. Sam Beare Hospice has been serving the community for a decade from its rent free premises within Weybridge Hospital– previously under the management of the Primary Care Trust – and had plans to develop its services further. But now NHS
Property Services has thrown a spanner in the works by forcing the charity to rethink after suddenly presenting chiefs with the prospect of a massive yearly rental bill –and service charge to boot.

Nigel-Harding-not-smiling-cutAlthough Chief Executive Officer Nigel Harding and his team have made a number of attempts to challenge the organisation’s decision, they have not been able to get hold of anyone to speak to. Mr Harding told the News & Mail: “We have always had the space rent free and the NHS has been very supportive.”

But as a result of the additional, unforeseen financial pressures from the property company, the trustees and executive staff have had to revisit their proposal.

It has been a major blow to the plans to redevelop Sam Beare to create a separate Wellbeing Centre to lighten the load of patients having to travel, and take some weight away from Woking. Mr Harding added: “At that stage we thought it was still going to be rent free. We have had a number of issues and this burden has forced us to reconsider.”

Instead, Woking & Sam Beare Hospices have announced that, from December, it is to begin the process of moving all in-patient and day care services currently provided at the Sam Beare site to the new hospice building at Goldsworth Park; the construction of which is on schedule and due for completion in spring 2017.

Mr Harding explained: “We are now planning to provide transport to bring day patients to Woking, and we will be looking at new premises in the Weybridge area as a base to continue providing satelliteservices in the community. We are certainly not deserting our patients – there
are no issues there.

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