The chairman of St Raphael’s has issued an urgent plea to save the hospice today.
Dr Ron McKeran is asking people to sign two petitions attempting to protect the future of the hospice.
The Daughters of the Cross, the charity which owns both the hospice and St Anthony’s Hospital, are selling the hospital to a commercial organisation.
Supporters fear for the future of St Raphael’s because it relies on £1m of free services each year from the hospital.
It already costs £4m to run St Raphael’s, which cares for 1,000 patients, each year and only £1m comes from the government with the rest coming from fundraising and legacies.
Staff at both services have come out against the proposed sale and the Sutton and Cheam MP, Paul Burstow, has launched a campaign calling on the Vatican to intervene to protect the relationship between the two services.
As well as financial concerns there are fears that if St Anthony’s is sold to a commercial organisation its Christian ethos will be lost.
The nuns currently living on site could potentially end up living next door to a hospital carrying out abortions and gender-changing operations - things the Catholic Church is opposed to.
The chapel in St Raphael's Hospice
Dr McKeran said: “Both Mr Burstow and I have asked the Vatican to block the sale of St Anthony’s Hospital, and support the creation of a new Catholic Charity, to take over the running of St Anthony’s Hospital and St Raphael’s Hospice combined, as at present, so that both may continue long into the future.
“Paul Burstow MP has now established a website with links to two on-line petitions, one he is organising, the other which is on the 10 Downing Street Website asking the Prime Minister for support.”
Sister Veronica Hagen, chair of the trustees, has repeatedly said they took strong independent counsel on all the possible options – including setting up a new charity.
However the trustees say that a new charity and company would have required longer-term commitment from the national charity and at time of unprecedented change for the health sector and has the potential to put their other works, including St Raphael’s, at risk.
The trustees argue the proposed sale of the hospital provides the most viable option for the hospice’s long term future within the community and for the national charity they run.
Dr McKeran is asking people to sign both petitions and to encourage their friends to do so.
Visit: Paul Burstow's petition
10 Downing Street