CEO faces up to challenges

Nigel Harding took over as our new CEO of both Woking Hospice and Sam Beare Hospice in Weybridge in November 2010.

The appointment came at a time when the Hospices had just completed a very turbulent 18 months. We had been forced to suspend day care services and launch an emergency appeal, which thankfully had seen the local community support in many different ways.

Nigel explained, “Since starting work here I have been struck by the commitment of people to their local Hospice and due to this support we are starting 2011 in a much stronger position. In fact we have just reopened Day Care to the same level as before the appeal which is a wonderful way to start the year. But of course as a charity we are not out of the woods yet as there are still many challenges facing us.”

The challenges he mentions is the definite lack of clarity in the NHS at the moment, the health and social care system is going through one of the most radical periods of reform in 60 years, including the move to GP consortia. This will affect Hospices and funding and there is also concern that GP consortia will not be equipped to meet the needs of people facing the end of life.

Nigel added “We still don’t know how government cuts will affect us and how much funding will be available to us in 2011, which is both worrying and frustrating. There is so much more we could and want to do for our community, we want to expand our services so that we can support more patients in their own homes, we have the skills to do this and the will. “

The Hospices are currently operating at maximum capacity on the inpatient units and their community teams are at full stretch. Future plans are to develop their Hospice at Home services, which could help avoid many unsatisfactory admissions into the NHS Hospitals.

Nigel summarised “My aim is to build on the tremendous support that we have received during 2010, which will allow my specialist team to expand on the services that we offer to the community.”