Hospice UK and National Council for Palliative Care prepare for merger

No decisions about a new name and branding have yet been made, but the organisations hope to make a formal agreement on merger within three months

Hospice UK and the National Council for Palliative Care, two charities that support end-of-life care and hospice organisations, have announced plans to reach an agreement on merger in the next three months.

At a meeting on Wednesday, trustees of both organisations agreed to work towards a formal merger between the two organisations.

A spokesman for Hospice UK said no decision had yet been made about whether the newly formed organisation would take on the name and branding of one of the organisations or whether it would develop a wholly new identity.

Hospice UK, which describes itself as the voice of the hospice sector and was registered with the commission in 1993, had an income of £5.5m in the year to 31 March 2016, with spending of £5.6m. The umbrella body the NCPC, registered in 1991, had an income of £1.7m and spending of £1.5m in the same year.

Tracey Bleakley, the chief executive of Hospice UK, will become acting chief executive of the NCPC from 31 May, during the interim period before the merger is fully agreed. Claire Henry, the current chief executive of the NCPC, will join Hospice UK as director of improvement and transformation.

Lord Michael Howard, chair of Hospice UK, said: "As the national voice of hospice care in the UK, we are constantly looking for ways to improve the quality of care received by those reaching the end of life.

"By collaborating directly with the NCPC, we can pool resources, share knowledge and expand our reach – and ultimately improve outcomes for the beneficiaries of end-of-life care."

He said the organisations’ shared goals and history of working together made the merger a natural progression for the two charities.

Baroness Ilora Finlay, chair of the NCPC, said: "By coming together, we will continue to provide a clear vision and an even stronger voice for end-of-life care everywhere, because the most important people in end-of-life care are the person with the life-limiting condition and their family."

She said the new organisation would be in a stronger position to take forward the NCPC’s Dying Matters project, which brings together hospices, care homes, NHS organisations, faith groups and others to encourage more people to talk openly about death and bereavement.

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