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."

Tuesday 19 Jun 2018

Please vote for Sobell House

Sainsbury's Charity of the Year

Wednesday 20 Jun 2018

BBC TV documentary

'How the NHS changed our world'


Events Manager wanted
Join our team!

Wednesday 6 Jun 2018

Radio 4 Today: Should dying be a right?

With MP Nick Boles & Prof Irene Higginson

Monday 11 Jun 2018

Golf Day Raises £15,000

A huge thank you to all involved!

Julie's Story

Last year Julie walked the Moonlight Stroll after her Mum Pam Cudd was cared for at Sobell House in 2016.…

What we achieved in 2017!

What we achieved in 2017

Jerrams Brothers Funeral Directors

A fantastic donation of £1,000

Tuesday 28th Feb 2017

Shops - Easter Opening Hours

Closed Good Friday, Easter Sunday & Bank Holiday Monday. Open Easter Saturday.

Monday 26 March 2018

Spring 2018 Newsletter

Now available to view online.

Tuesday 28th Feb 2017

Witney Warehouse now open till 4pm!

Now open 9.30am - 4pm, Mon - Fri

Thank You to the Jayadevan Family

£1,500 raised for Sobell House!

Neil’s 3-Peaks Challenge

A fantastic £1,765 raised from an amazing and exhausting challenge

Oxford Fine Dining join The 40 Club

Supporting Sobell House

Fantastic Support from Bicester Village

Continuing our wonderful partnership

Magenta Storage Choose Sobell

Charity of the Year

Thank You Winter Walkers!

Over £4,000 raised!

Recruiting Now!

Sell lottery membership in aid of Sobell House

Botley Shop Closure

Our Botley shop closes as site redeveloped

Amazing OCDEM!

Raised a festive £500 for Sobell!

Monica, you are brilliant!!!

Monica had her head shaved and raised £1,200 for Sobell House

Marilyn Relf receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Hospice UK honours 35 year career

Oxford Gospel Choir

Raised £1,172 for Sobell!

G-SMATT Choose Sobell

Supporting us for 2018!

Brilliant Bethany brings Christmas Cheer

Thame shop supporter Bethany raises money and a smile with her Christmas jumper snaps!

Beth's Bursary Fund

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

Thursday 23rd November 2017

My Lovely Postcards

Thank you to the artists, bidders and all who supported the project!

Tuesday 21st November 2017

Thank You Firewalkers!

Scorching Support for Sobell

Tuesday 21st November 2017

Marriotts Choose Sobell House!

Charity of the Year

Friday 3rd November 2017

The Documentary: Before I Go

BBC World Service

Friday 7th July 2017

Autumn 2017 Newsletter

Now available to view online.

Thursday 19th October 2017

Thame Art Window

A Striking Display

Thursday 19th October 2017

Crendon Crafters Quilt Raffle

An Amazing £443 raised!

The Bell at Chearsley

Thank you to the Chearsley Challengers!

Fundrasing challenge, Aunt Sally & collections

Thursday 19th October 2017

£30k for Team Sobell at Ox ½ Marathon!

Thank you for the support!


We're Off!

Work starts on the Sobell extension!

Saturday 7th October 2017
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!!!

Monday 17th July 2017

10 Mile Thames Walk

Family of Julie Jones raise money for Sobell House

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

Wednesday 14th June 2017

Easy Ryder Cup

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

Providing care for the people of Oxfordshire for over 40 years!

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