Hospices announce plans to join forces

The teams at Rennie Grove and Peace Hospice.

Stewart Marks, chief executive of Rennie Grove Hospice Care, Professor Stephen Spiro, chair of trustees at Rennie Grove Hospice Care, Dr Jeremy Shindler, chair of trustees with Peace Hospice Care, and Jackie Tritton, chief executive officer of Peace Hospice Care. - Credit: Rennie Grove

Rennie Grove Hospice Care has announced plans to merge with another hospice in the county.

The merger with Peace Hospice Care in Watford is said to increase both reach and scope of services offering high quality care to the local community.

The decision was not a result of the pandemic, but aims to secure service delivery for all the communities cared for by both hospices.

Stewart Marks, existing chief executive of Rennie Grove and the designate chief executive of the new organisation Rennie Grove Peace Hospice Care, said: “With the number of people needing more complex end-of-life care rising every year, we must be ready to change and adapt to ensure that resources are used in the most effective ways.

"By merging, we will be able to pool our resources to reach many more people with even better care. Our wonderful local community raises most of the cost of running our services so it’s important that we repay this incredible generosity by making sure we are always meeting the changing needs of everyone in the community. We believe that this merger will allow us to do that.”

Dr Jeremy Shindler, chair of trustees at Peace Hospice Care and the designate chair of the new organisation, added: “With palliative care we have just one chance to get it right and we are determined to do what is needed to ensure that happens for people in the areas we serve in Herts and Bucks.”  

The merger is subject to final approval of both the Charity Commission and the members of Rennie Grove and is planned to take effect from October 1. There are no plans for redundancies, with an ongoing challenge to fill existing vacancies. 

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It is not the first time Rennie Grove has been involved in a merger. Back in 2011 St Albans day hospice Grove House joined forces with Iain Rennie Hospice at Home.

At the time, Grove House chief executive Mark Lister admitted that paramount in the discussions between the two hospices was the impact on local support for a merged service: “We are acutely conscious of local support and that was the biggest single discussion point when we looked at a merger."

This time round, Rennie Grove director of fundraising Tracey Hancock promised: "We see the merger as strengthening our position in Herts and enabling us to provide a more joined up service for the people that each organisation cares for.

"It will mean a more equitable service is provided and reach more of the community than before. As a bigger combined organisation we will be better equipped to provide local high quality palliative and end-of-life care services to the community, whenever and wherever the need.

"So actually access to local support will be improved and the Herts and Bucks catchment area should reinforce that it is a bigger local provision, rather than a less local or nationally run service."