This year, hospices opened their doors to local MPs as part of Hospice Care Week. MPs across the UK visited their local hospice to shadow a variety of roles including nurses, volunteers, fundraisers or members of the catering team, to find out more about the services they provide for their community.
Pendle MP, Andrew Stephenson, visited Pendleside Hospice only days before his shadow day, to join them for their Leaders’ Lunch. The exclusive event was organised as part of their 35th birthday celebrations, whereby business people and leaders from Burnley and Pendle, who have supported Pendleside over the years, came together to celebrate the Hospice’s anniversary.
Pendleside Hospice were delighted to welcome Mr Stephenson back and he spent the full-day shadowing a number of roles.
Mr Stephenson started the day accompanying Hospice at Home Auxiliary Nurse, Natasha Marsden, on a patient visit to see Miriam Holgate. Miriam receives weekly care support visits from the Hospice to check on her health & wellbeing, and to ensure Miriam has everything she needs.
Following that, Mr Stephenson met with one of Pendleside’s long-standing volunteers, Ronnie Redhead, to deliver lunch-time meals to customers throughout Pendle, as part of the Hospice’s Meals on Wheels service.
Andrew Stephenson MP was fortunate to be able to sample Pendleside Hospice’s catering, as he enjoyed lunch with staff and volunteers in the diner, before shadowing Assistant Practitioner, Lisa Thompson, for the Breathe Peer Support Group. Mr Stephenson chatted with service users over tea and biscuits, about the positive impacts of the group.
Later in the afternoon, Mr Stephenson shadowed community engagement officer, Leah Hooper, and head of events, Sammi Graham, who were busy putting all the final touches together for their next big community fundraising event, The Pendleside Pumpkin Trail. Lastly, Mr Stephenson was shown around Pendleside Hospice’s Donation Centre by retail team leader, David Austin and retail coordinator, Gemma Hopkinson.
Organised by Hospice UK, Hospice Care Week officially runs from 9-15 October, with MPs across the country visiting their local hospice both in the run up to the week and after. This year, Hospice Care Week’s ‘we are hospice care’ theme sheds light on the people who make up a hospice, celebrating the breadth, diversity and excellence of the hospice workforce.
Over 40,000 people work in charitable hospices across the UK, working to reduce pressure on the NHS, and provide training and support for health care workers. It’s a challenging time for hospices, and the need for hospice care is growing. The cost of living crisis has seen their costs soar, making fundraising for the majority of their income increasingly challenging. At the same time, recruiting, retaining, and paying their dedicated staff a fair wage has never been tougher.
By engaging with their local hospice, MPs can support brilliant hospice staff and make sure they’re not forgotten by national and local decision makers.
Toby Porter, CEO of Hospice UK says: “It is the wonderful people that work and volunteer in hospices that make hospice care so special, and they often find it to be the most rewarding and satisfying job of their career. We are delighted that many MPs are joining their local hospice team for a day, to experience what it is like to work or volunteer in such a vital service. It’s a great opportunity for MPs to hear directly from people who use hospice services, or work and volunteer there, on what they can do to support the sector, and to ensure their constituents can continue to access the best possible care at the end of their lives.”
Helen McVey, chief executive of Pendleside Hospice says: “It was lovely to share with Mr Stephenson the fantastic work our team of dedicated staff and volunteers do at Pendleside to support our patients, their families and carers, but also share the challenges both Pendleside and other Hospice’s across the UK face. Particularly increased demand on services and the limited statutory funding Hospice’s receive and their heavy reliance on the support of local communities to fund the services. With Hospices across the UK caring for around 300,000 people each year it is important that Pendleside and other Hospice’s have the support of their local MP’s in ensuring sustainable Hospice care for the future.”
Andrew Stephenson MP adds: “It’s been a really insightful experience visiting Pendleside Hospice and to witness first-hand the incredible work Pendleside do. I have always been a huge supporter of the Hospice and interacting with staff, volunteers, patients and service users has enabled me to learn much more about what our local Hospice offers and the invaluable support they provide for our Burnley and Pendle communities.”