04 August, 2020

Harbour Hospice is planning a $20 million project to refit and refurbish Hospice on the North Shore, where its facilities urgently need upgrading to meet an unprecedented growth in demand for palliative care services.

An extensive redesign, reconfiguration and upgrade of the building at Shea Terrace in Takapuna will resolve weather tightness issues in the Inpatient Unit, provide room for more beds and create a state-of-the-art community centre for programmes that support patients to live well at home.

Funding for the project will come from a capital fund built up by the Hospice over 10 years, supplemented by capital fundraising through grants, pledges, donations and bequests.

The Harbour Hospice Trust Board has spent three years investigating sites and design options, and the redevelopment was the first item on the agenda when recently appointed Chair Ann Tod joined the Board in February 2017.

“I recall thinking I might have bitten off more than I could chew,” says Ann, a partner in accounting firm KPMG.

With construction planned to begin in October, the Covid-19 pandemic could have been a major disruption to the build. Fortunately, project planning, design and consultation were able to continue throughout lockdown and the proposed start date remains unchanged.

Ann says this meant that when the Government announced its shovel-ready infrastructure scheme, the Trust was ready to apply for funding. This would go a long way towards restoring the Trust’s reserve funds which were drawn on for operational needs during the lockdown.

4 Ann Tod Trustee web

The closure of Harbour Hospice’s 17 retail stores and cancellation of events had a huge impact on fundraising income, which provides more than 40% of operational funding. The Board had no hesitation in making some of the Trust’s carefully invested reserves available to ensure continuity of support for the 350 patients currently in Harbour Hospice care.

One of Ann’s strengths is her ability to identify the opportunities in a crisis and not be weighed down by the challenges. She was confident the stores would bounce back from their two-month hiatus, and her optimism seems justified as customers have returned with a renewed interest in sustainability and reducing waste.

“We have a challenge in finding enough volunteers, but we have an opportunity to encourage a new crop from younger age groups,” she says. “People are thinking about what makes a difference and how to use their time to achieve that.”

The North Shore Inpatient Unit needs to be reclad within two years to ensure the health and safety of future patients and staff members. Ann is firmly focused on ensuring this happens.

“Specialists are telling us we have so many months until the unit is no longer safe to use, and having a building not fit for purpose overshadows everything we do.

“I look forward to having working spaces that are much better suited to teams being able to collaborate and having a good workflow, which leads to efficiency of care. We’ve been working together in an agile way in the virtual world and that’s what we should be doing in the office.”

Ann agreed to chair the Harbour Hospice Trust late last year, because “the organisation makes such a difference and if my skill set can help, there I am.”

“As individuals and as a community we help each other when we’ve got family members who are unwell or dying. If you feel you can help, it’s difficult to say no.”

Ann’s time on the board has been marked by significant change. Towards the end of 2017 it began the process of creating Harbour Hospice, an amalgamation of the North Shore and Hibiscus Hospice Trusts which, between them, served the communities from Devonport to Mangawhai.

Ann is passionate about the benefits that working as one Hospice brings to all these communities. A larger scale brings economies that free up funds for specialist services, so Harbour Hospice can deliver the best care for patients even as their palliative care needs become more complex.

“As one organisation we’re much better positioned to deliver a world-class standard of care.”