Announcement from Skanda Vale Hospice Trustees – 17th March 2020

As you are all aware, the development of the spread and impact of coronavirus across the UK, mirrored in nearly every country of the world, has been significant, with many aspects of our daily lives affected.

It is almost certain that the situation will further deteriorate over the coming weeks and months and that the most vulnerable in our society, including the elderly and those with underlying health problems, will be at greatest risk.

The economic impact and uncertainty on a national level and for most businesses, organisations and the self-employed as well as for individuals are devastating and precarious going forward.

The trustees, working alongside our management and clinical team, have been closely monitoring the situation and published advice from the UK and Welsh Government on a daily basis. Behind the scenes, we have been working hard to provide continuity of service for our patients and team; developing contingency plans to ensure the sustainability of our service in the long term.

Following a meeting of the UK Government on 16th March 2020, further guidance has been issued to the public clearly recommending working from home, social distancing, preventative isolation of the elderly and vulnerable, and cutting out all unessential travel. It is clear that additional restrictive action will be taken to respond to the virus in the coming days and weeks.

Skanda Vale Hospice needs to consider the clinical risk to our patients and those team members who also fall into the at-risk category, as well as our ability to provide a consistent, sustainable service well into the future.

I am writing to inform you that from the close of business today, Tuesday 17th March 2020, the trustees together with the management and clinical team have made the decision to close all Skanda Vale Hospice services until further notice. No further assessments or referrals will be processed. This is in line with decisions taken by other similar healthcare establishments.

I recognise that this will be a huge blow to all who benefit from the service, but it is our duty as a responsible health care provider to safeguard our patients and team members. The health and well-being of the patients who will need to self-isolate is of primary importance as their lifeline to the hospice has been disrupted. Equally, many of our volunteer team members benefit from the social and psychological aspect of their role.

Our core team are planning to maintain contact with patients and team members by telephone or when indicated by other means. This will at least provide some contact and support for individuals who will be anxious and depressed as a result of their self-isolation and inability to attend the hospice.

We are developing plans to set up a communication strategy to keep the whole team regularly engaged and will be in touch with everyone on an individual basis in the very near future. Our fundraising efforts will require support, imagination and flexibility in the challenging times ahead.

Our core team member’s workload will be re-directed to governance projects as well as patient contact, either at the hospice or from home. We will use this time constructively as a positive opportunity to look at what we’ve done well, what we can build on and what we can change, to improve the service we provide and develop the vision of Skanda Vale Hospice.

We are incredibly grateful for the love, support, dedication and commitment delivered by all our team both past and present in caring for our patients, their families and each other. As with all things the current situation is impermanent, things will change in time and new opportunities arise, please stay with us to share those times ahead. Much love to all of you.

Brother Michael – Chair of Trustees