The Michael Sobell Hospic e which has provided end of life care in Northwood for more than 40 years is considering its future.

The hospice was run by the Michael Sobell Hospice Charity at a site near Mount Vernon Hospital , which houses a world leading cancer centre, from 1977. However a surprise announcement in June revealed that the inpatient services were being moved into the main hospital building.

A statement on the charity's website said the inpatient building had been declared "unsafe and no longer fit for purpose", resulting in the "interim measure".

Rosalind Williams, chair of the charity's board of trustees confirmed that patients had been moved out of the hospice building.

“Following a review by East and North Herts NHS Trust, and in discussion with the MSHC Board of Trustees, the difficult decision was made to relocate the in-patient service of Michael Sobell Hospice to the main hospital block,” she said.

Michael Sobell House opened its doors on Valentines Day, 1977

“This decision was made in the best interests of patients and their families, and the care that is needed.

"The relocation was because of current concerns about the inpatient unit environment whilst a permanent solution is sought.”

Northwood's Michael Sobell Hospice forced to close inpatient unit after building declared 'unsafe'

However Hillingdon Hospital Trust, which owns the lease to the building which houses the hospice has denied any claims that it is dangerous.

"The move has been incorrectly reported as being necessary because of ‘structural problems’ at Michael Sobell House," says a statement on Hillingdon Hospital Trust's website.

Michael Sobell Hospice in 2014

"An historic structural issue in this building was fully addressed last year when the whole building was underpinned. The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (which owns the building) has not been advised of further structural issues by any organisation.

"Hillingdon has contacted E&NH Trust as a matter of urgency to discuss this and to establish what the impact of this move will mean to patients that are referred to the hospice. We are currently awaiting a response."

The hospice trust is continuing to treat outpatients in the Day Care centre and continues to fully fund both impatient and outpatient care. However, conversations are now being held with stakeholders as to what should be done about the future of the decades-old hospice.

The opening of the day centre in 1982 with the Archbishop of Canterbury

Rosalind Williams added: "The Hospice Day care services remain in the newer part of the building, and that service to patients continues to be fully funded by the Charity. The Charity also continues to fund and support patients in the relocated service.”

“We very much appreciate the support shown for the work of the Charity with the recent petition, addressed to East and North Herts NHS Trust as providers of the service.

“As we go forward, we will continue to put the care of local people in the community with palliative and end of life care needs at the heart of what we do. Thank you for your continued support at this time.”