LETTERS: All Hallows loss ‘saddening’, says former trustee

Protesters against the closure of All Hallows health care trust in Beccles. Byline: Sonya DuncanCopy

Protesters against the closure of All Hallows health care trust in Beccles. Byline: Sonya DuncanCopyright: Archant 2019 - Credit: Sonya Duncan

All Hallows has been providing services to the community for nearly 150 years, and during this time has won the respect and trust of the local community.

250 people a day are offered either day care, care at home, therapy services, care in the hospital, or care in the nursing home.

The fact that this wide range of health and social care services are provided by one organisation is impressive, and provides a unique opportunity to offer an integrated service – an achievement which has won recognition internationally.

All Hallows Healthcare Trust benefits from the generosity of the All Hallows Community, who grant the Trust the land for a rent of “one hazelnut” which is given by the Trustees each year with respect and thanks.

The Trust also benefits from the community support through the League of Friends, which promotes and supports the services, and provides funds for equipment, services and staff training for the benefit of patients and families.

All Hallows employs nearly 300 skilled and experienced staff, and benefits from around 100 volunteers who contribute to enhancing the service.

I was a Trustee of All Hallows Healthcare Trust for six years, and witnessed first-hand the sensitivity of the care provided to patients, clients and families by staff and volunteers.

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I found it very moving, and I was proud to be a part of the organisation.

I was also pleased to give long-service awards to loyal staff, and talk to families whose loved ones with highly complex needs have been cared for so well for many years.

There is a long tradition of care from All Hallows.

I am saddened that the All Hallows Healthcare Trust will be closed down.

I understand that the financial position is now untenable, and this has been prompted by the change in contracts from commissioners from “guaranteed” (block contracts) to “as required” (spot contracts) for services, creating uncertainty on income.

The fee level offered by commissioners I understand is insufficient for financial viability.

The commissioners are seeking alternative providers to run parts of the services.

I am not clear how any other provider could provide the service if on the same contract terms and levels offered by commissioners for All Hallows Healthcare Trust.

There will also be a loss of continuity and integration if the services are to be fragmented.

All Hallows has a long tradition of care, is highly respected and loved by the community, and benefits from enormous support from the Community of All Hallows, the Friends, many volunteers, the wider community and long-serving and loyal staff.

I understand that prior to the announcement of the closure, the services were fully occupied, fully staffed, and had achieved a good standard rating from the regulators.

I do hope that the commissioners have taken account of all the evidence and factors with regard to this unique and valued service, before taking the steps leading to the parcelling out of services, and the closure of All Hallows Healthcare Trust.

I know that the Trustees have done all they can in negotiations over the past nine months to try and retain this valued service.

Dr Helen Tucker