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Hospices must collaborate to secure the future of specialist palliative care

Hospices must collaborate to secure the future of specialist palliative care

Monday 5th June 2017

Eamonn O’Neal is the Chief Executive of St Ann’s Hospice. He’ll be speaking at the Hospice Movement Update: Ask the expert event on 22nd June, talking about collaboration amongst hospices. Here he tells us why working together is so important for the sector.

The hospice movement has matured over the past half century or so but it hasn’t necessarily fully emerged from the early ‘mom and pop’ cottage hospital-type of approach. Hospices are no longer just benign, benevolent places at the end of a leafy country lane – we are businesses, operating in a challenging economic climate. And in our sector, that comes with a multitude of considerations, including robust fundraising regulation, the imminent arrival of European GDPR; ICO requirement; SORP demands and Charity Commission guidance.

Consequently, hospices need to improve the way we run our businesses. As a matter of course, we should be robustly adopting good business behaviours that underpin employee loyalty and commitment, enhance integrity and reputation, and lead to our being able to continue to offer extraordinary specialist palliative care to our patients and their loved ones and carers. 

The devolution of the health and social care budget to the Greater Manchester combined authority is a game changer. Whilst the Greater Manchester hospices are net providers to the NHS, we’re not part of the NHS and therefore strictly-speaking out of scope of the devolution plans.

However by joining forces, and coming together as a unified voice, the GM hospices are being heard. We have come together as The Greater Manchester Hospice Strategic Partnership with some specific objectives:

  • To collaborate and co-operate
  • To influence the Greater Manchester Devolution agenda
  • To set the standards & aspirations for end of life care in Greater Manchester
  • To be the infrastructure that delivers the aspirations, standards and ambitions at local level
  • To share and analyse data
  • To provide an evidence based approach to support commissioning
  • To ensure hospices survive and thrive in each locality

Whilst each hospice will always retain its individual integrity and commitment to its own communities, we can no longer operate in isolation. We need to be part of the wider business communities.  We must embrace partnerships, seek specialist advice, join in meaningful discussions and network effectively to help us thrive. The Brabners sessions bring us together to facilitate all of that.

We have to learn from and share best practice so hospices can reach their full potential and continue to provide our unique care in our unique way. We have to have bold ambition folded into our DNA.

We owe that to the people we care for and the thousands of people who put their hand in their pocket to support us.