Harbour Hospice Chair sees opportunities in Covid-19 crisis

Harbour Hospice will soon begin a $20 million refit and refurbishment of Hospice on the North Shore, where facilities urgently need upgrading to meet an unprecedented growth in demand for palliative care services. 

An extensive redesign, reconfiguration and upgrade of the building at Shea Terrace in Takapuna will involve reclading the Inpatient Unit, provide room for more beds and create a state-of-the-art community centre for programmes that support patients to live well at home.

Funding for the project will come from a capital fund built up by Harbour Hospice over the past decade, and capital fundraising through donations, pledges, grants and bequests.

The Harbour Hospice Trust Board has oversight of the project and has spent three years investigating sites and design options to achieve the most cost-effective solution. 

Redevelopment of the Shea Terrace site was the first item on the agenda when recently appointed Chair Ann Tod joined the Board in February 2017.

After her first meeting, Ann (a partner in accounting firm KPMG and a long-term North Shore resident), recalls thinking she might have "bitten off more than she could chew". And no one would argue that with a global pandemic thrown in the mix, progress may have been delayed. However, planning, design and consultation were able to continue through lockdowns and the proposed start date remains at late 2020 or early 2021. 

Hospice's 17 retail shops and events were not so lucky however, with shops forced to close and events being cancelled due to restrictions around large groups and gatherings. Together these normally provide almost 50% of our operational funding. To ensure there is no interruption of support for the 350 patients currently in Harbour Hospice care, the Board has put in place contingency plans that include the release of reserves to support operations as necessary from negative financial impacts of Covid-19.

An application to the Government’s shovel-ready infrastructure scheme, if successful, would have gone a long way towards restoring these reserve funds. Unfortunately, the project was not selected, which means we will have to work harder still (with huge support from the community) to ensure we can meet our ambitious fundraising goal.

“We missed out on what would have been an incredible leg up, but we mustn’t lose focus and momentum on the important job at hand. Time is ticking. The Inpatient Unit must be urgently reclad and having a building that’s not fit for purpose simply overshadows everything we do,” Ann says.

“Despite these setbacks my motivation lies in seeing new spaces come to life that are better suited to team collaboration and seamless workflow, which leads to efficiency of care.”

One of Ann’s strengths is her ability to identify the opportunities in a crisis and not be weighed down by the challenges. “Whether it’s taking on the role of Chair, supporting a vital community project in the face of a global pandemic, or helping a loved one when someone is unwell or dying – if you feel like you can make a difference, it’s difficult to say no.”