Somerset

Yeovil's St Margaret's hospice to close 12-bed unit

St Margaret's Hospice
Image caption St Margaret's Hospice provides care for people with life-limiting illnesses and has two in-patient units in the county

A hospice in Somerset has announced it will be closing its inpatient unit putting up to 48 jobs at risk.

St Margaret's Hospice Care revealed proposals to close its 12-bed unit in Yeovil due to financial pressure and staff shortages in the summer.

The charity said it would try to mitigate impact on staff by redeploying in the Yeovil community and creating additional posts at its Taunton unit.

More than 16,000 people signed an online petition against the proposal.

The hospice's trustees gave their final decision to staff at a meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

The charity said it would be doubling the number of extra staff providing care in the community.

Two hospice beds would also be provided at community hospitals in South Petherton and Wincanton for patients unable to travel to Taunton.

Image caption Campaigners fighting the closure apologised on Facebook for failing staff, patients and future patients

Jonathan Langdon, the hospice's acting chairman, said: "It has been a challenging time for staff, patients and volunteers potentially affected by the proposal and we, of course, are continuing to listen and support them.

"The consultation process also continues with staff."

Campaigners posting on the Save St. Margaret's Hospice Yeovil Facebook page said they had jumped "through hoops for the cause".

"On behalf of the committee we are sorry we failed the staff, we are sorry we failed the patients and we are sorry we failed those who are going to wish this service was available in the future."

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