AN Oxfordshire hospice is set to close at the end of March this year, it has been announced.

Sue Ryder will shut the inpatient unit at its 'palliative care hub' at Nettlebed near Wallingford and sell the building.

It comes after Oxford's Helen and Douglas House children's hospice ceased its adult service in 2018 because it could no longer afford to run it.

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Sue Ryder has said it also decided to shut its Oxfordshire centre in order to make ends meet, and said it will use the proceeds to continue providing home care across South Oxfordshire.

In a statement the charity said: "As is the case for all hospice providers in the UK, it is becoming increasingly difficult to deliver services through predominantly charitable funds and Sue Ryder has a responsibility to ensure that its limited resources are distributed in the most effective way for the patients.

"It costs Sue Ryder £3.1 million a year to deliver a range of palliative care services across South Oxfordshire.

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"The charity receives just over a quarter of that cost in the form of statutory funding and works to source the remaining £2.3 million from donations and sales via its national retail operation."

It said the decision to close Nettlebed was made as a result of the high costs of running a listed building, paired with the challenges of running a hospice in a building not built as a healthcare facility.

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Sue Ryder also said it has now entered a process of formal consultation with affected employees over the proposal to close its inpatient unit after a thorough assessment of a number of factors including patient data and costs.

The South Oxfordshire Palliative Care Hub’s Hospice at Home service now in its second year, has so far supported 539 patients.

In a recent survey of the general public, over 70 per cent of respondents said they would prefer to die at home and Sue Ryder said it continues to see demand increase for its Hospice at Home service in South Oxfordshire.