Paul sets out his vision for Weston Hospicecare as charity’s new chief executive
PUBLISHED: 17:30 13 March 2017
© Chris Grady Photography
Closer ties with Weston General Hospital and better knowledge of certain illnesses are just some of the changes Weston Hospicecare’s new chief executive officer wants to introduce – but his vision for the much-loved organisation does not stop there.
Despite only taking over at the hospice on March 6, Paul Winspear already has a clear idea of what he would like to achieve in his new role and he is eager to build on the hospice’s excellent reputation.
In an exclusive interview with Mercury reporter Grace Earl, Paul outlines why he was attracted to working at the hospice and explains how he wants to make the institution even better for Westonians.
Background: Who is Weston Hospicecare’s new boss?
It’s fair to say Paul enjoys a slightly unconventional background compared to most in the charity sector – but this does not make him any less qualified for the job in hand.
Paul worked across the world in the oil and gas industry for 25 years, but became interested in setting up a permanent home in the South West once his former industry hit a downturn.
Once he saw the role on offer at Weston Hospicecare, he knew it was too good a chance to pass up.
Paul said: “I initially glossed over the job advert because I thought it was so different, but for some reason I looked at it again and looked at the profile of the person they were looking for and thought it described me quite well.
“My curiosity was peaked – I thought ‘wow, this is something I would find really interesting and rewarding. I think I could do a good job for these guys and serve them well in this role’.”
How do you manage a charity like a business?
One of the key challenges Paul is facing – alongside everyone else involved in healthcare – is increasing financial pressure in this era of austerity.
The hospice only receives about 20 per cent of its funding from the NHS, while the remaining 80 per cent comes directly from fundraising and sales in its network of shops.
Paul admitted the financial difficulties facing the hospice were not unique to the organisation, but he also felt his knowledge of the business world would be invaluable in ensuring every penny the charity receives is spent appropriately.
He also said he felt the biggest challenge the charity would face under his leadership would be maintaining its current level of services – but he added if it succeeded in doing this while meeting its budget, it would be a huge success.
He said: “I think we can expect constant pressure to meet our budget. Funding cuts are a concern for everybody in healthcare and we are no exception.
“We have got to do the best job we possibly can – we have got to be very measured about how we manage our ambitions and growing our services, never forgetting what we do is governed by patient need.”
Making things even better: building on the hospice’s reputation
Many job-hunters would be delighted to be offered a role at an organisation like the hospice – it enjoys an excellent reputation in Weston and gives its workers the chance to see they are making a difference to people’s lives.
Despite the pressures he faces in his new role, Paul is no exception to this delight. He told the Mercury one of the reasons he was keen on the job was because it would enable him to engage with his new community and make a tangible difference to the lives of those around him.
Paul said: “On a personal level, I have had a fantastic career which I have really enjoyed but in this role, I can make a direct connection between the work we do and the effort we put in and helping people.
“For me, it is an opportunity to give something back and work in a more altruistic way.
“I take this responsibility very seriously – to look after the hospice’s reputation and make sure we continue to work in a way which further enhances that reputation is very important.”
Looking to the future
One of the main areas in which Paul wants to further improve patient care is in the hospice’s understanding of terminal illnesses other than cancer.
As survival rates for cancer improve, the hospice is seeing more and more referrals for patients with other terminal illnesses such as heart disease, MS and COPD and he admits it needs to understand how to care for these people better.
Another way in which Paul plans to improve care at the hospice is by improving its ties with Weston General Hospital – a move which seems sensible, given both facilities are located a stone’s throw from each other in Uphill.
Paul said: “We are forging closer ties with Weston General Hospital on pharmaceuticals to benefit from their knowledge and experience.
“Their pharmacist will come across and spend a few hours with us every month to provide their experience and oversight, checking some of the things we are doing.
“It is about sharing knowledge in a very open way.”