MP Marcus Fysh 'concerned' over Yeovil's St Margaret's hospice
An MP has raised concerns after a hospice announced it may have to close with the possible loss of up to 50 jobs.
Marcus Fysh said "the much-loved" St Margaret's Hospice in Yeovil provides an "essential service".
The hospice charity said the proposed closure of its 12-bed unit in Yeovil was due to financial pressure and staff shortages.
More than 16,000 people have signed a petition against the proposal.
"St Margaret's Hospice is much loved throughout the community," Mr Fysh, MP for Yeovil, said.
"Like many, I am concerned about the proposed plans to close the in-patient care in Yeovil.
"We must investigate alternatives to solve the problems of fundraising and staff shortages in order to keep what many regard as an essential service in our area."
Local residents have expressed their anger over the plans.
Posting on Facebook, Jo Elizabeth Ellis said: "This is such a massive loss to our community. The quality of care and the palliative support administered by the hospice in the last few days of patients lives cannot be replaced."
Rosemarie Smith added: "Many of my friends and family have used a hospice. we need more, not less".
St Margaret's Hospice has two in-patient units in Somerset
The proposed restructuring would see the unit in Taunton getting an increase its bed numbers from 12 to 16.
The charity said 31% of the cost of delivering the care was covered by the NHS, with the rest met through local fundraising.
Under the proposals, the centre in Yeovil would remain open for day activities.
Mr Fysh is holding a public meeting in Yeovil on Thursday to hear local people's opinions on the proposal.
The hospice charity has also planned a meeting on 14 August, at its Little Tarrat Lane site in Yeovil, to gather people's views.