Mark Jackson, who had recently retired from a distinguished career in the army, was looking for a suitable job in the charitable sector when he saw the position of Chief Executive at St Richard’s advertised. It wasn’t his first contact with the hospice; two decades before he’d heard all about the new service from his mother who had been a volunteer in the Broadway group. Mark’s first major challenge in his new job was to oversee the move from Rose Hill to the new hospice, a task that required military-style planning. He also needed to recruit and train about 50 new staff for the bedded unit, nearly doubling St Richard’s paid workforce. His first ten years in the job have seen the completion of the new hospice (2006), the building of the Snowdrop Community Centre (2010) and an extension to the bedded unit (2014). In this interview, Mark talks about the daily work of the hospice and the plans for the future of the service too.
Mark faced the interview panel for the Chief Executive’s post at St Richard’s in late 2005 following his retirement from the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters at the age of 55. In this first extract, he talks about the interview itself and the challenges he faced in the first 18 months of his new job.
When Mark took over, the hospice site was a sea of mud with breeze blocks about 2 feet high. He talks proudly of the fact that the building was delivered on time and on budget, and when it came to moving in, they were only one week later than planned – an amazing achievement for such a large project. In this next extract, Mark explains that the official opening of the inpatient unit by HRH Duke of Kent came quite a while after the actual opening of the new building. Fraser Meek , the new Inpatient Unit Manager, staged quite a spectacle on the first of two openings.
Mark explains how every five years St Richard’s publishes its strategic plan for the next 5 year period. In 2011 this included the demand for more community services and the opening of Hospice at Home, a similar service to the one set up by Jenny Bulman in 1984. It also highlighted the need for more single bedded rooms. In this extract, Mark explains how this was achieved and why it was completed so quickly.
The early completion of the 2011 strategic plan has allowed for a longer, even more considered look into the hospice’s next phase. Mark describes how it has involved the creation of 10 in depth studies into aspects of hospice care, each led by staff and volunteers in different departments. In this final extract, Mark explains how these studies have fed into the next five year plan which is currently being discussed.