The Government has now joined in the fight for the future of St Raphael’s Hospice.

In a parliamentary debate secured by Sutton and Cheam MP Paul Burstow, on Tuesday, foreign office minister Mark Simmonds said the Government had taken the matter up with the Vatican.

During the debate Mr Simmonds paid tribute to the work of St Raphael’s and said the British ambassador met with Archbishop José Rodríguez Carballo at the Vatican on Monday morning.

The ambassador highlighted concerns that when the Catholic charity, The Daughters of the Cross, sell St Anthony’s Hospital in North Cheam St Raphael’s Hospice will be left without an invisible £1m invisible subsidy it relies on from the private hospital.

Your Local Guardian: Sutton and Cheam MP Paul Burstow with two fundraisers

Paul Burstow, a long-term supporter of St Raphael's Hospice, celebrating this year's fete with fundraisers

The matter has also been taken up with papal nuncio, Archbishop Mennini, the UK representative of the Pope, who has offered to meet with Mr Burstow.

Mr Burstow has launched a campaign to save St Raphael’s Hospice and is urging people to sign the petition on his website.

He said: “It is good news that following my lobbying the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have moved so quickly to raise concerns about the threat to the future of St Raphael’s hospice.

“I also look forward to taking a small deputation to meet with the papal nuncio, Archbishop Minnini.

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St Raphael's Hospice provides care for people in Merton and Sutton 

“The hospice is a much loved and admired institution at the heart of the community, but it is both astounding, and, frankly, heartbreaking, that its future is being put at risk by a dogmatic decision to sell-off St Antony’s hospital to a commercial bidder.”

Residents and staff at St Anthony’s and St Raphael’s have come out against the plans to sell off the hospital. 

Campaigners wanting to secure the future of both services are proposing a new Catholic Charity be established to take on the management of the North Cheam site.