Pay the piper on the way out

Posted by & filed under Eastern Bay Life, Home and Living, Lifestyle

FRIENDLY TEAM: The staff at Hospice Eastern Bay of Plenty,
Diane Watkins (social worker), Anna Foley (palliative care nurse), Keri Ratima (medical officer), Cath Bartlett (palliative care nurse), Brigit Billings (palliative care nurse), Sarah Last (clinical nurse specialist), and Shelly Moloney (clinical services leader). File photo D5582-07

IF every person who departs could leave a little something for the hospice, then the work for the organisation that supports people in their journey towards the afterlife would be easier.

Peter Bassett, who has enjoyed a long career in the health sector, took up the role as chief executive of Hospice Eastern Bay of Plenty on November 28, 2016.

After half a year at the helm, he says it’s been “an interesting challenge”.

“And a rewarding one,” he adds.

Peter says the organisation received 291 new referrals during 2016, having about 65 to 75 patients at any one time.

“We get referrals from the hospital, GPs and people in the community,” he says.

“All our services are in the community. We have a free, nurse-led service, covering the whole of the Eastern Bay.”

The hospice has a nursing team, a doctor, social workers and a volunteer chaplain.

They deliver services to Opotiki and the Coast every day.

“We are very fortunate to have a dedicated team to look after people who have contracted a life-shortening illness.”

Peter says the hospice has about 28 staff, quite a few of whom are part timers.

The staffing adds up to between 14 and 15 full-time equivalents.

With an annual budget of $1.4 million, the hospice gets $900,000 from the government and the rest has to come from the community.

“We get 65 per cent of our funding from the Bay of Plenty District Health Board,” Peter says.

A good portion of the remainder is coming in from the two hospice shops, one in Whakatane and one in Opotiki.

“The shops are well supported, both in Opotiki and Whakatane,” Peter says.

“Together, they bring in $180,000 each year.”

The rest of the income comes from events, sponsorships, donations, grant applications and bequests.

Opotiki man Barry Carruthers died in August last year, leaving a bequest in his will to Hospice Eastern Bay of Plenty.

“It was a significant amount and we are very thankful for that,” Peter says.

“Ideally, if people in the community could leave a small portion of their estate to the hospice, then we could build up a reserve.

“A large group of people in the community are unable to help us out when they live.”

Carruthers’ bequest

TOP ROLE: Chief executive Peter Bassett, says leading the hospice is both challenging and rewarding. Photo Sven Carlsson OB2071-01