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Royal College Nursing sadness over Walsall Acorns closure

By Heather Large | Walsall | Health | Published:

The Royal College of Nursing has spoken of its sadness at the proposal to close Acorns children's hospice in Walsall.

Acorns in Walsall could cease offering care from the end of September

Seventy members of staff, including members of the professional nursing union, are at risk of redundancy as part of the plans to shut the site amid rising costs and falling donations.

The charity intends to continue offering services at its children’s hospices in Birmingham and Worcester, but says it can no longer afford to run three hospice centres.

The consultation is due to close on July 3 and if the move goes ahead, the charity will cease offering care from the site in Walstead Road from the end of September.

Mike Adams, Regional Director of the RCN in the West Midlands, said: “It’s very sad that Acorns is in a situation in which it has to propose closing its hospice in Walsall.

“The quality of the palliative care and support provided for children and families in Walsall by a very skilled and dedicated team of staff and volunteers is highly regarded.

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"The care delivered at the hospice is described by the Care Quality Commission as outstanding, with ‘many examples of compassionate care, thoughtfulness and respect’, so the prospect of the centre closing will be upsetting and unsettling for many people.

“It’s clear that the current uncertainty around whether Acorns will receive NHS funding through the Children’s Hospice Grant after March 2020 is a major factor and concern for the organisation, and it’s a pity that NHS England and the Government, in reviewing future financial support for children’s hospices, have not been able to offer any guarantee of future funding.

“We hope a solution can be found during the consultation process that secures the future of the hospice, and we will, of course, be supporting our members whose jobs are at risk as a result of the proposal.”

“The care delivered at the hospice is described by the Care Quality Commission as outstanding, with ‘many examples of compassionate care, thoughtfulness and respect’, so the prospect of the centre closing will be upsetting and unsettling for many people.

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“It’s clear that the current uncertainty around whether Acorns will receive NHS funding through the Children’s Hospice Grant after March 2020 is a major factor and concern for the organisation, and it’s a pity that NHS England and the Government, in reviewing future financial support for children’s hospices, have not been able to offer any guarantee of future funding.

“We hope a solution can be found during the consultation process that secures the future of the hospice, and we will, of course, be supporting our members whose jobs are at risk as a result of the proposal.”

Acorns chief executive Toby Porter said: “We have been overwhelmed by the many messages of support and solidarity we’ve received from across the local community in the days since we announced the very difficult proposal for our Walsall hospice.

“We acknowledge with gratitude the comments of support from the Royal College of Nursing, who rightly refer to the very high standards of palliative care delivered by our highly skilled and dedicated staff at the hospice.  

“In particular we welcome the College’s confirmation that they will obviously do all they can to support the affected staff who are members, should this proposal go ahead.

“Our priority during the consultation period is to work closely with all those affected - including the staff and of course all the families who use the hospice - and do all we can to support them and listen to them during this difficult and uncertain time.”

Since the shock announcement last year the community has rallied around the charity with fundraisers and a petition started to help save the hospice from closure.

Acorns has thanked people for their on-going support and said they were overwhelmed by the number of positive messages they had received.

Heather Large

By Heather Large
Special projects reporter - @HeatherL_star

Senior reporter and part of the Express & Star special projects team specialising in education and human interest features.

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