Hospice charity chair resigns after it drops plans to close ward

Pilgrims Hospices in Kent, which runs hospices such as the one pictured in Canterbury, reacted to public opposition, prompting Dr Richard Morey to quit

Pilgrims Hospices establishment in Canterbury
Pilgrims Hospices establishment in Canterbury

The chair of Pilgrims Hospices has joined the chief executive of the charity in resigning after the Kent-based organisation dropped plans to close one of its wards in the wake of strong public criticism.

Dr Richard Morey said today he would stand down with immediate effect. Chief executive Steve Auty announced last week that he would leave at the end of the month.

About 18,000 people signed a petition opposing plans to close the hospice’s inpatient ward in Canterbury, which the charity said was no longer fit for purpose. Hospice care would be moved to hospitals and the homes of patients instead, it said.

But Pilgrims Hospices discarded the plans earlier this month, prompting the resignations of Auty and now Morey, who said that the charity needed "fresh non-executive leadership to steer it through the next phase of its development".

Morey said in a statement: "I am standing down with immediate effect as chairman to enable others to continue the important work of spreading the influence of palliative care as widely as possible whilst retaining the essential essence of Pilgrims Hospices."

A spokesman for Pilgrims Hospices declined to comment further.

Morey served as chairman of the board of trustees for six years and a trustee for 14. He will be replaced by the charity’s vice-chair, who was not named in a statement provided by the charity.

A spokeswoman for Pilgrims was unable to confirm who the vice-chair was before publication of this story.

Pilgrims Hospices, which also runs hospices in Ashford and Margate, had an income of about £12m and expenditure of about £12.7m in 2012/13.

Susannah Birkwood

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