Two excellent letters appeared in Friday's local paper, making a great case for keeping St Peter's Hospice as an extremely valuable local community service in St Agnes Avenue, Knowle. I fully support the case made by the day hospice volunteers and will be writing, as they suggest in their letters, to express my feelings and will copy in local councillors and MP. I've copied the first of the letters below:
We refer to your recent article regarding the future plans for St Peter's Hospice. As volunteers at the Day Hospice, we were all amazed to receive individual letters advising of the intended closure of this valuable facility in September.
We were all dismayed at this announcement, withdrawing such a valuable service to the very community which has given its overwhelming support to the hospice over the past 30 years since its founding at the Knowle site.
The people of South Bristol have taken this charity to their hearts during that time. Many local individuals and businesses alike feel this to be their charity.
The withdrawal of this facility is considered by many to be just a first step towards the total withdrawal of the hospice in South Bristol.
We, the volunteers, see at first-hand the huge benefit which the day hospice has provided to the people who have needed it most. Many of these people find even the short journey to the hospice to be quite arduous and to expect them to travel to Brentry will, for many, be a journey too far. Many of these are also carers and the extra time spent travelling not only affects them but their loved ones at home.
The day hospice works at Knowle because the patients are able to see a specialised doctor without an appointment, talk to nurses about the worries and troubles they have in dealing with their medical condition without time limit.
Many find talking to others in a similar circumstance of benefit. Whilst this service might be undertaken by community nursing, not as many patients would receive this support as at present. Many more would need to be referred to their own GPs.
Whilst we are told to accept change, there is a difference between change and withdrawal. We have no doubt that a properly orchestrated appeal to cover the costs of the necessary repair work to the fabric of the building in Knowle would have been supported by the people of South Bristol.
Yet again, another valuable service in South Bristol will have been lost forever. Not withstanding the suggestion that a new facility will ultimately be built in the Hengrove Park area, the closure of the Knowle site may see the withdrawal of a large number of the hospice's existing supporters on this side of the city.