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Tuesday, 20 November, 2001, 17:40 GMT
Hospice to close despite campaign
Staunton Harold Hall, Leicestershire
Staunton Harold Hall will close in March 2002
Health care charity Sue Ryder Care is to close its hospice in Leicestershire within the next few months.

The decision to shut Staunton Harold Hall near Ashby de la Zouch has been made despite a vigorous campaign to save it.

In June, a separate charity - the Ryder Cheshire Foundation - which owns the 18th century Grade II listed hall, announced that it would be selling the building that houses the hospice.

The hospice, which can cater for up to 18 people, will now close at the end of March 2002.

Staff and patients were given the news on Tuesday by Sue Ryder Care chief executive Iain Henderson.

He told BBC Radio Leicester that it had been emotional: "It was very sad for everyone concerned, most of all for the staff and patients.

There is no question of people's needs not being taken care of

Iain Henderson, chief executive of Sue Ryder Care

"For me having to make the announcement, it was no fun at all.

"I think people are clearly angry although there has been nothing to indicate that people have behaved in an untoward manner."

Sue Ryder Care lease the building from the Ryder Cheshire Foundation and under the terms of the lease, they would be required to undertake major repairs which could amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Mr Henderson said: "To contest this obligation would mean using hard-earned charitable funds to fight a legal battle against another charity, which would be very regrettable."

'Excellent service'

But he added that patient care would still be treated as a priority.

"There is no question of people's needs not being taken care of."

A range of alternative services is being considered by Greater Derby Primary Care Trust and North West Leicestershire Primary Care Group.

Rowena Langtry, general manager of North West Leicestershire Primary Care Group, said: "The Sue Ryder Care Centre at Staunton Harold has provided an excellent service to people and we are saddened by the news of closure.

Preserve skills

"We are now actively considering the options to ensure that local people continue to receive a palliative care service.

"We will be keen to deliver services as close as possible to people's homes and to preserve the skills of the care staff."

Meanwhile Derek Hathaway, chief executive of Greater Derby PCT, said: "We are fortunate to have a range of palliative care services in Southern Derbyshire and we will ensure that these services are strengthened."

Staunton Harold Hall is a country estate set on the border of North West Leicestershire and Southern Derbyshire between Derby, Leicester, Burton on Trent and Nottingham.

Click here to go to Leicester
See also:

27 Jan 01 | Health
Hospices face financial crisis
23 Aug 00 | Health
Hospices 'not places to die'
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