The National Health Service turned 70 today (Thursday 5th July 2018). It’s the perfect opportunity to celebrate the achievements of one of the nation’s most loved institutions, to appreciate the vital role the service plays in our lives, and to recognise and thank the extraordinary NHS staff, the everyday heroes, who are there to guide, support and care for us, day in, day out.
Being based within Wythenshawe Hospital, which is part of the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT), offers us unique opportunities to work closely with colleagues in other departments to help even more patients and carers to access the support of the Neil Cliffe team. We’re flexible in our approach to working with the Trust and our aim is to help them by providing care right when people need us the most.
The centre is named after Neil Cliffe, who is Honorary Vice President of St Ann’s Hospice, and he knows from personal experience the value of getting patient care right. Neil underwent an operation for cancer of the colon at Wythenshawe Hospital in 1981 and decided to raise money to buy equipment for his surgeon’s department.
Spurred on and determined to help, Neil managed to gather an army of supporters, and raised a staggering £1 million to build the specialist Neil Cliffe Centre at the hospital – the first centre of its kind to be built within an NHS hospital, and a vision that was copied nationally.
The centre is an important part of St Ann’s, it has helped thousands of people ever since it was opened, and continues to do so now even more than ever. We don’t have in-patient beds at the centre, but we do provide invaluable support to people with life-limiting illnesses and also to carers right from the point of diagnosis, through treatment and beyond. Whether that’s providing complementary therapies, or simply offering a friendly place for people to come and reflect, alongside the emotional and psychological support that people receive, the message is that we’re always here for people when they need us.
St Ann’s at the Neil Cliffe Centre is such an inspiring place to work. I’m continually inspired by our patients and the courage, resilience and appreciation they show. I get to witness the very best of human spirit and I feel very privileged that people share so much with me. Privileged to work in hospice care. And privileged to be part of such a great team.
We’re a charity, so not part of the NHS, but our services are partially funded by local Clinical Commissioning Groups, with the rest – around £20,000 a day – fundraised by all our amazing supporters and local communities across Greater Manchester.