Past, Present and Future

March 2016 Message

Terminal care, Hospice care, Palliative care, End of Life care the terminology confuses but reflects the growth in knowledge, skills and attitudes over the last 50 years as the discipline has evolved.

I first came across the work of Cicely Saunders at St Christopher’s Hospice (then called terminal or hospice care) in South London 40 years ago when I read an article written by the actress Sheila Hancock describing the excellent care that her (first) husband had received at St Christopher’s. As a young doctor working in London I soon found myself phoning St Christopher’s for advice on managing my patients.

A decade later I came to Sobell House Hospice to be the second consultant with Robert Twycross (see article written for this website on February 2016).  By now hospice care was recognised as part of palliative care which is simply defined  as the holistic care of the patient, family and carers during and at the end of a life threatening illness.

Sobell’s focus besides the in-patient hospice was then to take and share the philosophy of palliative care with our colleagues in the community. Our specialist nurses (sometimes called Macmillan nurses) became linked to GP practices and our involvement with patients at home grew and grew.

Sobell House is distinctive in that it is one of only a few hospices that were built on a NHS hospital site, next to the Cancer centre, and with the local health authority agreeing to fund the service. Right from the beginning in 1976 The Friends of Sobell House (a registered charity ) existed to ensure patient amenities were always available eg the famous drinks trolley which goes round the ward before lunch and supper. The Friends, initially, held an annual fair and other small fund raising events. Then around 1990 the health authority reduced our budget and we were faced by the prospect of closing 4 beds. This was a critical point for Sobell House which needed an extra £100,000/year to keep the beds open. The Friends accepted the challenge and as we now know have continued to do so with ever increasing amounts of money.

Fancy a little something?
The Famous Drinks Trolley.

The Friends had to rapidly become a significant fund raising charity (the name was later changed to Sobell House Hospice Charity). They were initially helped by a management consultant (Ken Beresford) who was provided free by British Rail and who helped transform the Charity and initiate the trading arm and opened the Charity’s first shops.

Sobell Shop
The first Sobell House Charity shop was opened by the Charity in Little Clarendon Street in Oxford in 1990.  It is still trading at the same site today.

Meanwhile the service was growing and we established a team of nurses with doctor support to work in the John Radcliffe to see patients, support and help train the ward staff. This was an era (90s) when palliative care was first beginning to be recognised as a need and specialty within the NHS. The volume of work has steadily grown over the last 20 years and with it the recognition that palliative care should be available to anyone with a symptomatic life threatening illness not just cancer and so the needs of the patient must be the determinant for palliative care not necessarily the disease process.

Today the NHS uses the term “End of Life Care” which is a part of the palliative care work that we undertake. This is very relevant to planning how we can stay in the community at the end of life.  Also how to improve the care of those who die in our acute hospitals which is where the majority of us still die. The hospices can only provide space for around 7% of all deaths.

So we remain, forty years on, ever grateful to the friends of Sobell hospice who support the ever challenging work that we do, and now to help us to strengthen and expand our services in the Oxford University hospitals and the resources available in the hospice.

Michael Minton
Consultant  in Palliative Medicine at Sobell House Hospice

Dr Michael Minton

March 2016 Message

"We are ever grateful to the friends of Sobell hospice who support the ever challenging work that we do and help us to strengthen and expand our services."

Saturday 28th October 2017

Dolls and Miniatures fair

Little Priory Fairs

We're Off!

Work starts on the Sobell extension!

Beth's Bursary Fund

To help achieve the best possible consistency in the quality of care.

Saturday 7th October 2017
Thursday 14th September 2017

The Big Bake Off at Solid State Logic

Tasty Cakes and Money Raised for Sobell!

Thursday 14th September 2017

Oxford Gospel Choir and Sobell House

Oxford Gospel Choir choose Sobell House!

Thursday 14th September 2017

Charity of the Year

Chapman, Robinson & Moore choose Sobell House!

Monday 4th September 2017

Daniel Hunt - Cycling Odyssey

3 months of cycling across 20 European countries

Monday 4th September 2017

FootSally Raises £1,480!

Back for the third year running. It just gets bigger and better every year. Brilliant!

Sunday 20th Aug 2017

Thank You Strollers!!!

What a night!!!

Friday 18th August 2017

Headington Shop now closed Mondays

Now open 9.30am - 5pm, Tuesday - Saturday

Sunday 27th August 2017

Annual FootSally Tournament

Charity FOOTSALLY Tournament is back for the third year running

Monday 17th July 2017

10 Mile Thames Walk

Family of Julie Jones raise money for Sobell House

Friday 7th July 2017

Summer 2017 Newsletter

Now available to view online.

Wednesday 21st June 2017

Blenheim 7k Thank You!

Almost £4,000 raised!

Monday 19th June 2017
Thursday 15th June 2017

Generous Donation in Memory of Judy Phipps

£1,500 Donated to Sobell House

Thursday 15th June 2017

Witney Shop Closure

Friday 16th June

Wednesday 14th June 2017

Easy Ryder Cup

RAF Brize Norton raise £545 in memory of their colleague, Leigh

Friday 9th June 2017

SO Thame Now Open!

Looking great after the refit

Wednesday 24th May 2017

Oxfordshire Business Awards

Sobell House shortlisted as a finalist!

Monday 22nd May 2017

Waterstock Golf Club

An Amazing £1,000 Raised for Sobell House

Wednesday 17th May 2017

Boeing at Brize Norton Raise Money for Sobell

Almost $5,000 raised for Sobell House

Wednesday 17th May 2017

Figures for Women Third Birthday

£647.08 raised for Sobell House

Wednesday 17th May 2017

Irene Andrews - OVCA Awards Winner!

Winner of the Long Service Award

Tuesday 16th May 2017
Wednesday 3rd May 2017

Finders Keepers

Sobell House - Charity of the Year for 2017!

Sunday 23rd April 2017

London Marathon


Thursday 30th Mar 2017

On the Hoof Food

Supporting Sobell House!

Sobell House latest Warehouse venture in Bicester is now open

SO Bicester is now open!

Sobell House latest Warehouse venture in Bicester is now open

Wednesday 29th March 2017

Sobell House Film

A wonderful film made by the Abingdon School Film Unit all about Sobell & why we need your support

Monday 20th March 2017


Tea drinkers unite and raise money for Sobell!

Wednesday 15th Mar 2017

RAF Falcons

Supporting Sobell House!

Wednesday 15th March 2017

Making Sobell Bigger!

We are pleased to introduce designs for the Garden Annex & Sobell Clinic!

Friday 10th Mar 2017

Oxford Castaways Auction

Amazing artworks up for auction - proceeds to Sobell House!

Friday 3rd March 2017

Winter 2017 Newsletter

Now available to view online.

Thursday 2nd Mar 2017

New Van in Didcot!

Ready to collect your large donations and furniture

Wednesday 1st Mar 2017

Radio 4 Today: Report on End of Life Care

With Baroness Finlay & Lesley Goodburn

Tuesday 28th Feb 2017

Witney Warehouse Opening Hours Extended

Now open 9.30am - 4pm, Mon - Fri

Tuesday 21st Feb 2017

Hospice UK Appeal

BBC appeal presented by Gethin Jones

Thursday 16th Feb 2017

OX Marks the Spot!

Have an OX postcode? We can collect your donated items for free.

Wednesday 15th Feb 2017

Oxford Mail: Families 'give something back'

Fundraising in memory of Peter Blackmore

Wednesday 15th Feb 2017

Valentine Thanks

Jennings and Watermeadow raised an amazing £185 for Sobell!

Friday 3rd Feb 2017

Anja Seymour Haircut Challenge

Raises over £1,000 for charity!

Monday 30th Jan 2017

Oxford Mail: Swimmers raise £4,000

19,200 lengths to raise money for Sobell!

Friday 18th August 2017

Online sign up now closed

Online sign up for tomorrow's Moonlight Stroll is now closed

Caring today, tomorrow... and in the future

Sobell House Hospice Charity Ltd, Churchill Hospital, Headington, Oxford OX3 7LJ
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