One year as Chief Executive

Rachel McMillan reflects on her first year of being Chief Executive at St Ann's Hospice...

By Rachel McMillan on October 5, 2021

There are many significant dates in our diaries that we celebrate, reflect on or cherish throughout our lives. The fifth of October 2020 is one date that I will be marking this year, and I hope for many years to come. That was the day I started my journey as CEO of St Ann’s.

Today I celebrate one year in post and what a year it has been! This time last year we were just about to go into another national lockdown due the coronavirus pandemic. The whole hospice team were working tirelessly to ensure we kept our services going to meet the needs of our patients and their families.

I look back to that time and feel immensely proud of how resilient, hardworking and compassionate everyone was and still are, as we continue to live alongside COVID-19 and the other challenges we face as a charitable organisation. The sense of camaraderie has been overwhelming and remarkable.
Rachel McMillan sat in the hospice gardenholding a metal forget-me-not

I reflect on how quickly this last year has flown by yet packed with so many things to celebrate. The 50th anniversary has been a real milestone in our history. Despite what has been happening around us, we have received so much support and generosity from our community, staff, volunteers and supporters taking part in lots of activities, celebrating the last 50 years and in turn looking to the future. The fundraising team and the trading company have been exceptional, acting with innovation and courage to try new things to generate income.

We have so much to look forward to as we continue with our ambitious strategy to build a new purpose-built hospice adjacent to our existing building in Heald Green. This will enable us to continue to develop our world-class care and be at the forefront of innovative specialist palliative and end of life care for the next 50 years and beyond.

Over the last year we have also made a significant improvement to our Little Hulton hospice to modernise our reception and café area so that it is welcoming and inclusive to all.

Only just last week we announced our Gold accreditation for Investors in People, gold in our golden year! This is a fantastic achievement and something to be proud of.

The teams have also shown a real drive for success in developing and implementing a clinical roadmap to recovery. Everyone across the whole organisation has been adaptable and accountable in how they contribute to delivering our purpose.

The transition into the role of Chief Executive has been seamless and I work with an amazing team. I am grateful to all of you who inspire me, who challenge me to be my best self. Every day there is something new, something more to consider, something else to learn. It's exciting and rewarding and fills me with energy. I still have to pinch myself each day as I feel so lucky to be able to lead the hospice into the next chapter.