For the last 32 years the Arthur Rank Hospice has been an NHS hospice supported by the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity. The charity and the NHS teams have worked very well together. However both teams, and the charity’s trustees, have been cognisant of the fact that NHS rules and regulations have on occasions created additional layers of regulation and process which has not been conducive to providing a flexible and responsive service fully utilising charity support.
Furthermore the charity, although funding approximately 40%+ of patient services has not been able to access most grant funding available to hospices, because the way the charity works is perceived to be ‘giving the NHS’ funds and some individual donors also baulk at what they interpret as ‘propping up the NHS’.
In addition to the service arrangements there was a real need to address the physical environment of the hospice. The hospice was built 32 years ago, largely with charitable funds, and then gifted to the NHS. It has now become outdated in the facilities it can offer, it is on an unattractive, overcrowded site and does not offer the serenity and comfort to which we would all aspire for our end of life patients.
Following a feasibility study which stated that it would cost £3.5 million to upgrade, but not extend, the facilities the charity decided to embark on a fundraising campaign and build a new hospice. However the trustees were adamant that this time it would not be handed to the NHS and therefore the charity would need to be in charge.
Our journey has been long and difficult, but work has started on our beautiful new hospice and we become independent within the next two months. Our paper would be an exploration of the journey.
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