‘It’s an absolute privilege’, says new Wakefield Hospice chief

Wakefield Hospice CEO Tina Turner.
Wakefield Hospice CEO Tina Turner.

This is how the recently-appointed chief executive officer of Wakefield Hospice, Tina Turner, describes her new place of work.

Queens visit 1992 at Wakefield Hospice

Queens visit 1992 at Wakefield Hospice

After starting the job on May 1, the mother-of-five said she wants to build on the institution’s past success and ensure it keeps raising enough funds to maintain its services – and even expand.

But first and foremost, she praised the hospice’s vital 134 staff and 400 volunteers, which she said it could not run without.

She said: “The Wakefield community can be really confident that the service quality here is excellent.

“The people who are attracted to this work are a special breed. It’s a place of warmth and love and even laughter – and that’s something that’s quite difficult to get across.

“There is a history of consistent leadership over many years at the hospice, and this shows in the morale and the team spirit.

“Over half of those who come into our in-patient unit will return home following care and symptom management.”

But the job is not without its challenges – while it costs £4m each year to run the service, only £1m is contributed from the Department of Health. The rest is raised by charitable donations.

Tina, 58, said: “Statutory funding has decreased recently and in common with other organisations, costs have increased – we must find ways to bridge the gap so as not to eat into reserves.”

But she remains ambitious for the hospice. One priority is ensuring the building and grounds are well-presented.

“It is well-known that a pleasing environment improves the health and well-being of patients, carers and staff, and it is important to me that we recognise this,” she said.

Tina grew up in the north of England before moving to the Isle of Wight, where she worked for 30 years.

After teaching, she moved into social work and started working for the NHS in 2000.

She was later a member of staff at the Earl Mountbatten Hospice on the Isle of Wight, before moving to Wigan two years ago to marry her partner Laura.

Tina said she was then thrilled to get back into hospice work.

“I’ve worked in a lot of different care settings with a whole range of different people, but hospice work gets a hold of you,” she said.