Stephen Greenhalgh bows out as St Catherine's Hospice chief executive
The Chief Executive of St Catherine's Hospice is retiring this week after 15 years at the helm.
But Stephen Greenhalgh will not be forgetting the hospice movement or its work. He plans to use some of his new free time to continue working for a PhD with the University of Glasgow researching the timely topic of ‘Change and Development in English Hospices?’.
His aim is to provide new knowledge and insights which will help the future development of the hospice movement.
Stephen is no stranger to change - he has lead the Lostock Hall hospice, near Preston, through many significant changes, facing challenges ranging from the 2008 recession to the current Covid-19 crisis.
As a mega fundraiser he has himself raised thousands of pounds for St Catherine’s, taking on
many of the charity’s varied challenges including firewalks, abseils, zip slides, ‘sitting
in the stocks’ and the annual Moonlight and Memories Walk.
But he said his favourite times have been visiting local schools and taking opportunities to care
for patients alongside nurses and housekeepers, noting: “These have been magical
moments and a heartfelt privilege.”
Stephen also pioneered a range of improvements to enhance the care and support provided to local people facing life-shortening illnesses, as well as to provide support for their loved ones and the wider community.
Since 2005, he has worked with colleagues to deliver a major multi-million pound redevelopment programme of hospice facilities centred on the inpatient unit and the onsite Lymphoedema Woodside Clinic.
During his time in charge the community Clinical Nurse Specialist service was saved from closure and now supports more than 225 people at home at any one time, helping to meet the needs of patients and families, and avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions.
He has seen the hospice's Support Team, which offers bereavement counselling, befriending,
remembrance services, rehabilitation and more, develop considerably over the last decade. The innovative Knowledge, Exchange and Communications directorates were formed to provide information, training and increased awareness of end of life care across Central Lancashire.
Meanwhile opening up the hospice gardens and creating St Catherine’s Park has helped people
feel more welcome and familiar within a hospice setting.
The launch of a café and community hub at a derelict barn have also been amongst praised innovations during Stephen’s leadership.
His nationally acclaimed, award-winning vision has been credited with transforming and opening up the hospice environment, creating new interest in the charity, as well as attracting hundreds of new volunteers and vital new income.
In recent years thousands of people, including patients and families, have visited the grounds and cafe, for fundraising events, special occasions and remembrance opportunities.The hospice prides itself on the grounds also offering a haven for quiet reflection.
Stephen said: “People here believe in continued improvement; they believe that every moment matters and in constantly striving for better. No matter what the challenges, we are always seeking new ways to meet unmet need."
His message for the future is clear. He said: "St Catherine’s must continue to be courageous in its determined mission to help people experience higher standards of end of life living.”
Stephen added: “St Catherine’s is amazing and I feel deeply humbled and privileged to have played a
small part in its fabulous story. For me, St Catherine’s is far more than a hospice building, a philosophy of care and a community of amazing people. We are part of an ‘end of life matters’ movement determined to improve the most
underfunded part of 21 st century life.
"Our army of staff and supporters, paid and voluntary, all have a passionate conviction to end unnecessary suffering and transform the way we experience our last months and years. Over 200 hospices across the UK are astonishing in their commitment to this cause.”
There has been no opportunity for Stephen to wind down to retirement. A hospice spokeswoman said: "Everyone has been working tirelessly through the turbulent months of the Coronavirus pandemic to maintain St Catherine’s vital services, keep pressure off the NHS and ensure the viability of the charity."
Stephen, who enjoys photography, walking, and cycling on Scottish and Greek islands, retires on September 4.
The Board of Trustees has appointed Lynn Kelly, currently Director of Knowledge and Technical at St Catherine’s Hospice, as Stephen’s successor.