My Week: Barbara Gale, Chief Executive, St Nicholas Hospice Care

Barbara Gale, Chief Executive, St Nicholas Hospice Care
Barbara Gale, Chief Executive, St Nicholas Hospice Care
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The week kicks off with a meeting about health and wellbeing involving representatives from charities from all over the county.

I present information about end-of-life issues to the group to try to focus attention on the need to make living with dying better for people in Suffolk.


Today I discuss our plans for an outreach centre in Haverhill with our board of trustees. As demand for our hospice services is increasing we are planning to take some of our services out into community locations or ‘hubs’. Then there’s some planning for a national conference in February followed by a writing a letter to Help the Hospices to highlight the fact that Google are charging charities in Europe for Google Apps where they offer it for free to US charities.


To try and keep a bad back at bay I spend an hour in the gym at 7.15am. Much of the day is spent working on my PhD exploring the role of volunteers in hospice work. After this I attend a party to celebrate and thank our Hospice Neighbours for the work they do. Hospice Neighbours are volunteers who help people living with a life-shortening illness by doing practical tasks such as shopping. Most importantly, they offer companionship. It’s so important to recognise the hard work put in by our wonderful volunteers so it’s great to be able to thank them properly at events like this.


Our User Advisory Group is meeting today and I spend the morning listening to the views of patients, service users and carers about their experiences of the hospice and where we can make improvements, particularly how we can give more support to people in their homes.  In the afternoon I catch up with some of the nurses from Sylvan Ward who had plenty of tales about their close encounter with Ipswich Town Football Club players who had been in to visit patients!


The week ends with a visit to our Brandon, Thetford and Mildenhall shops to see the managers and look at the new stock and shop layouts. I even managed to pick up a bargain!