Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice: Much-loved charity suspends clinical services due to staff shortage

Well-loved South Yorkshire charity Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice has announced it has suspended its clinical services.

The South Yorkshire-based hospice has been providing specialist care and support to children living with life-limiting illnesses and their families in South Yorkshire, North Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and North Lincolnshire since it opened in 2008.

Bluebell Wood says a combination of factors including a shortage of clinical staff at different levels has led to the temporary closure from May 31, which will remain in place until appropriate staff levels can be assured.

David Wilkin, chair of trustees, said: “Our priority must be a high level of care and safe services with the right level of expertise and the correct staff framework in place to comply with regulatory requirements.

Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice

“It is with the deepest sadness we have had to take this decision to temporarily close the hospice, we have no option given the staffing position.

“This has been a reluctant and difficult choice by the trustees, acting in the best interests of the children and young people, but we are seeing this across the sector. We are not unique or immune to systemic pressures facing the hospice network, care system and healthcare provision nationwide.

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“We know it is sad news for our employees, our volunteers, and children and families we support. We have done our utmost to avoid this situation.

"We are looking for solutions and will reopen with a fully-staffed provision to deliver the best care available.”

Bluebell Wood’s interim CEO Sarah Keeton has worked closely with the board to help overcome some of the charity’s operational challenges over the recent months.

David added: “With Sarah’s input we have identified and addressed many of the challenges that we have had to face and through her great work, we have managed the situation as far as possible before recognising that temporary closure is the only option at this stage.”

Mr Wilkin confirmed that there are no children or young people currently at the hospice. Any children needing hospice care will be directed to appropriate services.

Around 80 staff currently are employed by Bluebell Wood and they have been made aware of the situation. Other charitable activities and fundraising activity within Bluebell Wood will continue to operate.