Hospice chief handing over to nurse

MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD
Last updated 05:00 28/03/2014
alan munro
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/Fairfax NZ
MOVING ON: Alan Munro is retiring as South Canterbury Hospice chief executive.

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South Canterbury Hospice's long-serving boss is handing over the reins after two decades of service

Alan Munro will retire as chief executive next week. He has been involved with the organisation since 1993.

He was elected as president in 1994, and became chief executive in 2010.

"I'm very grateful for all the support and effort of the staff and volunteers. It's been wonderful, but now is the time to do something different," Mr Munro said.

"We've come a long way since that small property in North St."

Mr Munro said although the "philosophy of hospice care" had not changed over the past 20 years, the organisation's facilities had gone from strength to strength.

In 1998, the organisation's headquarters moved to its current location at Broadway Ave, which it turned into a four-bedroom five-bed unit.

"That was a big step for the organisation, as it meant we were able to move from home patient care to providing an impatient service," Mr Munro said.

"We were lucky the property came on the market at the right time, and were able to develop a purpose-built facility. It was a challenge for us, we had to create an environment suitable for palliative care that didn't feel like a hospital."

In 2009, the facility expanded to seven bedrooms, after successfully raising more than $1.7 million for the upgrade."For many, it seems the hospice is a charity of choice."

Mr Munro said he had enjoyed being the "public face" of the organisation, particularly in its fundraising campaigns.

"I've enjoyed them all, from the regulars such as the wine and food festival to one-offs such as the Antiques Roadshow," Mr Munro said. "It's important to put your face out there, but none of these appeals would have been successful without the work of hundreds of volunteers."

Mr Munro said he would still be involved in an " honorary ambassador-type" role, but no longer in the day-to-day running of the hospice.

"It will involve public speaking, and talking to various organisations about the value of hospice care. I've got a passion for hospice - it's important to keep this asset in the community," he said.

Clinical nurse leader Hazel Harrison will take over as chief executive, but also continue her clinical duties.

"It's been a seamless transition," Mrs Harrison said.

"Alan and the hospice board have made tremendous strides over the years, and I intend to continue their good work. Timaru has an aging population, and that brings new challenges for care, but I'm looking forward to remaining hands-on in my work."

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- The Timaru Herald

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