Arthur Rank Hospice Charity becomes an independent hospice

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On Saturday 1st August 2015, Arthur Rank Hospice – having worked in partnership with NHS colleagues – became an independent hospice, run by the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity. Realising a long-held ambition, the hospice has entered into a new five-year agreement with UnitingCare Partnership LLP, who have been awarded the contract to provide care for adults and older people by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group. Arthur Rank Hospice Charity joins 80% of hospices across the UK which are independent.

Specialist palliative care services previously provided by Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust (CCS NHS Trust), with significant funding from the Charity, will now be delivered by Arthur Rank Hospice Charity as an independent hospice. This includes delivery of clinical services based at the Arthur Rank Hospice, the Hudson Day treatment centre in Wisbech and community based care services across Cambridgeshire. Staff will transfer employment across from CCS NHS trust and will be a very welcome addition to the Charity. Services remain free of charge to patients and there will continue to be a seamless link in service provision between services funded by the NHS and the Charity.

The Arthur Rank Hospice has always been funded by both the Charity and the NHS. The Charity will continue to receive the same levels of funding from the NHS for which they will be required to deliver specific outcomes but overall it will give the Charity greater freedom to choose how the combined funds are spent, empowering the Charity to react more quickly and effectively to the ever-changing needs of patients. It is testament to the hard work of all the staff at the Charity and transferring NHS Clinical team that this has come to fruition. Having funded more than 40% of the costs at the hospice for a number of years, all future care has now been entrusted to the Charity.

Chief Executive of the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, Lynn Morgan, said: “The staff funded by the NHS and the Charity have always worked as a very close team: independence formalises this arrangement and provides us with opportunities to continue to develop our services in the future.  We will continue to need valued fundraising income because the NHS has never been, and is unlikely to be in the future, able to fully fund hospice care.  We very much hope this move will be welcomed by our patients, their families and our supporters.”

The autonomy which independence brings is particularly significant in regard to the hospice’s future, with the 24 bed £10.5 million new hospice build currently taking place. Stuart Evans, Chair of the Trustee Board, adds: “This transition to an independent hospice, together with the new hospice build at Shelford Bottom has been a priority over the last few years. We have consulted widely with our NHS colleagues and charity staff, and have been very heartened by their tremendous enthusiasm for this change. It’s been an incredible amount of work that has been both exciting and exhausting. But we know it will let us provide the people of Cambridgeshire with even better end of life care for patients, as well as supporting their families and friends.”

Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, guided by a Trustee Board with significant clinical and specialist palliative expertise, will now make its own decisions ensuring best use of the new facilities, whilst simultaneously delivering and evidencing required outcomes for the NHS. In preparation for delivering the service within an independent model, one hundred hospice staff have transferred to the Charity including Liz Webb, previously Head of Palliative Care services within CCS, who has become Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Clinical Services. Critically the clinical expertise of the Trustee Board has been bolstered by appointing five trustees who have a variety and wide breadth of clinical expertise.