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Change at hospice helm

DENISE PIPER
Last updated 05:00 14/11/2012

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Whangarei Leader

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North Haven Hospice is undergoing a change of leadership but continues to offer care with compassion for the terminally ill.

General manager Peter Bassett resigned from his position last Monday on mutually agreed terms, North Haven board chairman Murray Lints says.

Mr Bassett has always been in a caretaking position since his appointment in December 2010, Mr Lints says.

This is because former general manager Helen Blaxland was head-hunted by the Ministry of Health to turn around the troubled Cranford Hospice in Hastings and was granted a leave of absence for the role.

But the North Haven board has now selected a new leader, Leonie Gallaher. Her starting date is still being negotiated.

Meantime, North Shore Hospice deputy chairman John Nuthall is acting general manager. Mr Nuthall has been a consultant to the hospice for four weeks and his experience includes acting chief executive of North Shore Hospice.

Mr Lints says the North Haven board has also faced recent changes.

Every year, three of the nine board positions come up for election or re-election and this year there was an unprecedented number of nominations.

Out of the eight nominations, two of the three current board members were re-elected, Mr Lints says.

"I think there were some who felt the board needed new blood and quite clearly the majority felt not."

The newly elected board member is Henk Oosterbroek who has been heavily involved in the expansion of the Hospice Shop.

Mr Lints says North Haven has had a period of growth, with a large extension done to the in-patient unit in Tikipunga prior to the expansion of the shop.

The focus now is to expand capacity to provide care in the community, rather than in the in-patient unit, he says.

Mr Nuthall says this follows a national trend to treat people in their own homes where they want to spend their last days. Recently Hospice Mid-Northland closed its respite unit in Kerikeri to focus on community care, with complex cases being treated at North Haven.

North Haven has not noticed a difference in caseloads yet, he says.

Mr Lints says North Haven Hospice will continue to be supported by central government and the community.

The Government funds about 61 per cent of the costs with donations and the Hospice Shop providing the rest.

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