Our volunteer complementary therapist, Peter, has the magic touch!

By News Team on July 27, 2018

The magic touch of complementary therapist Dr Peter Mackereth provides help and comfort for our patients and carers.

We’re lucky to have one of the leading experts in his field volunteering for us one day a week at their Heald Green site.

Peter retired just over a year ago after 42 years as a nurse in the health service, his last 16 spent at The Christie where he co-ordinated and developed complementary therapies (CTs).

A team of three grew to 35 during his time at Manchester’s world-renowned cancer centre, recognising the increasing role of therapy care.

Peter, from Didsbury, is an award winner and pioneer in his field, having written close to 100 research and practice papers. His fifth co-edited book was published last year.

He is also involved in research relating to breathlessness among lung cancer patients and altered sensations following chemotherapy.

Peter specialises in massage, reflexology, creative imagery and relaxation techniques.

I've always had a relationship with St Ann's Hospice and it seemed like a natural fit when I finished at The Christie to come and do some volunteer work because I've always enjoyed being a visitor. My co-author on two books, with another to be published later this year, is Ann Carter who was CT co-ordinator here and whom I worked alongside. Tina Dennett is now the permanent therapist in the Heald Green hospice, and I knew her too from when she worked at The Christie. There's a great team at St Ann's and the staff are very welcoming and open to the work. Patients move between St Ann's and The Christie and since I started in November I've seen so many who've recognised me. I have also had close friends who've been cared for there so I knew St Ann's reasonably well. It's so rewarding to continue to provide therapies to patients in my retirement and in such a caring environment. It's a real honour and a privilege to provide interventions that you've grown and to offer those skills to patients and so make a difference. The on-going research will also help with funding streams, though the reality is the NHS won't fund a swathe of CTs, so that's where the voluntary and charity sectors play such a vital role. Volunteers are a core element of the work here and for me it's giving something back. Some posts are funded and the aim is to grow the service, so my message is if someone can help in some way then please get in touch. Helping carers as well as patients is key. That carer has been by the bedside and seen a person through treatments, possibly with long-term conditions, and that places a burden on them. I've also always been keen on integrating therapies safely. It's not like sports massage, where the person is well and the focus is on muscular work. Here we need to be gentle and adapt skills to individual patients and the context you're working within. Dr Peter Mackereth
We’re so grateful to all of our amazing team of volunteers, who help out with the complementary therapies for our patients.  We couldn’t offer the range of services to the number of patients we do without them, and we’re enormously grateful.  They’re part of a huge army of more than 700 volunteers who give their time so selflessly across all of our hospice sites and shops – a huge thank you to all of them on behalf of our patients, families and staff here at St Ann’s. Emma Barclay, Team leader

We’re looking for experienced complementary therapists to volunteer in techniques such as aromatherapy, Indian head massage, reflexology, massage or Reiki. Volunteers need a minimum of 12 months experience and will receive a full induction.

Interested in joining our complementary therapy team?

For more details about volunteering as a complementary therapist contact Louise Fleming, Volunteer Manager at St Ann's on 0161 498 3653, or email lfleming@sah.org.uk or you can register your interest online by clicking the button below.

Click here to register