A brief history

Woking Hospice History

There’s a hospice in Woking today because the local community spent five years raising money to build one. In 1990, Rhod Lofting, now a Trustee and Life President, launched an appeal for a local hospice. He did it because he didn’t want anyone else or their families to endure what he did when his father died or anyone else’s loved one to suffer such indignity during their last days. After five years of fundraising, Woking Hospice welcomed its first patients in 1996. Since then, Woking has provided special end-of-life care to very ill, very frightened patients and their relatives and has continued to grow and improve, benefiting thousands of  local patients and their close families, at one of the most important, yet most difficult times of their lives.

Sam Beare History

The “Old” Weybridge hospital was on the same site as where the new Hospital has been built. In the 1970’s there were 3 wards within the old Weybridge Hospital, they were named after a surgeon, a nurse and a porter. The Sam Beare ward was actually a children’s ward until around 1976, when it was deemed unsuitable as and it was decided it should be a Palliative care ward and re-named the Sam Beare Unit.

The Sam Beare Unit moved to the new Hospital site in 1999 and the Richard Jenner memorial Trust again funded the building of a conservatory in the day care unit. From 1999 – 2005 the unit has been funded by the NHS with additional help from the Richard Jenner Memorial Trust and the Friends of Weybridge Hospital. There was also a Sam Beare Trust which was held by the NHS.

In 2014 the decision was made to merge Woking and Sam Beare Hospices to develop a brand new state-of-the-art facility in Goldworth Park, Woking, and the beds from the Weybridge hospice were relocated in December 2016. As a hospice care provider that covers a large area of Surrey, 70% of what we deliver is out in the community and the specialist Sam Beare Community Team continues to support and care for over 280 patients and their families at any one time throughout Weybridge and the surrounding areas.

You can download the full Sam Beare Hospice story here: Sam Beare Hospices: a memory by Samantha Oakley

How Woking Hospice came to be involved

North Surrey Primary Care Trust were in the process of developing their services and they decided to consult the public on a number of proposals for the future of local health services. These proposals were developed through discussions with staff, local stakeholders, members of the public and other health and social care organisations.

The PCT asked the public for comments on overall strategy for local healthcare and proposed to consult the public on specific areas

The key proposal for the Specialist Palliative Care Service was to develop a palliative care “centre of excellence” at Weybridge Hospital, comprising 16 specialist palliative care beds and a 10 place day care service for cancer and non cancer patients. This would be delivered by a charitable sector specialist palliative care provider and would be partly funded through local fundraising.

Woking Hospice was therefore approached in November 2005 to formally express an interest in delivering the specialist palliative care services for the North Surrey PCT population. The public consultation took place between 12th December 2005 and 10th March 2006 and there was overwhelming support for developing Weybridge Hospital as a centre of excellence for palliative care, and for this service to be delivered by a charitable sector provider. The public felt it was important to keep a local service.

Offers of interest were submitted by Woking Hospice and another local Hospice and on the 24th April 2006 it was announced that North Surrey PCT had decided to keep the eight palliative care beds at the Sam Beare Unit in Weybridge, rather than moving the services to Esher. It was also decided to increase the beds to 10, with a view to having 16 beds in total over the next three to five years. Woking Hospice won the bid and after contract negotiations with North Surrey primary Care Trust, the service re-opened on August 1st and an official opening took place on September 19th 2006.

Writing history 

In May 2017 Woking Hospice moved to our brand new state-of-the-art facility in Goldsworth Park. Find out more about this exciting step in our history and our new build appeal here.