Meet Katharine House Hospice’s new Chief Executive
Getting back to real events and being an advocate for the local community in the hospice’s new clinical partnership are amongst the West Ham supporter’s aims
Katharine House Hospice’s new Chief Executive officially started his role at the hospice on May 10. Having just completed his fourth week in post, Trevor Johnson has spoken to Banbury FM to tell us about his priorities over the coming months.
Mr Johnson has worked in leadership in the hospice sector for over 10 years, having previously worked in retail with many national brands. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and has led several national initiatives for Hospice UK. He moves to the Katharine House Hospice on the Aynho Road in Adderbury having previously worked at a hospice in Essex.
Describing himself as “passionate about the sector”, Mr Johnson became involved after he lost his own mother and brother within six weeks of each other. He said: “As a family we would have broken without the care and support of our local hospice.”
In the last couple of years there have been a number of challenges for the Katharine House team, of which a budgeted deficit of £435,000 in 2019 was the first. The pandemic that followed made the situation worse, devasting many parts of the charitable sector. Most recently a new partnership with the Oxford University Hospital’s Trust (OUH) has seen clinical services move under their control.
Mr Johnson is clear on what he believes the priorities must be for his team. He said: “We need to build our partnership with OUH and make sure that we continue to be an advocate for the local community, to make sure we continue to provide those services which are so important to the community. We had 900 local patients come here last year and it’s really important we continue to be here for them.
“We also have the challenge to continue to fund raise. We still have a planned deficit this year of £300,000. Covid has not been kind to any charity and we are no exception. There’s a lot of work that we need to do that’s ongoing to make sure we bridge that gap, we take things forward and we continue to be out there in the community.”
Over the last year the Katharine House team have worked hard to continue raising the funds that are vital to keep the Hospice operating. Most events have been run “virtually”, but Mr Johnson is keen that everyone is able to look forward to in person events, run safely back out into the community.
He said: “We’ve got our Not The Midnight Walk coming up which we’re hoping will raise just over £40,000 to put towards the services we’re providing for the community. But in these post-Covid times it’s about more than that: it’s an opportunity for the community to come together to do the walk. I think most of us have been sitting at home itching for something that we can take part in and here it is: the Not The Midnight Walk – an opportunity to take part in a big fund raising challenge and be around and with people in a safe and managed way.”
In relation to the services Katharine House offers Mr Johnson is keen to reassure anyone that might have concerns over the new arrangements with OUH. He said: “We’ve got a strong partnership with OUH. We have regular meetings with the team and are part of the conversations. We are an advocate for the community in those conversations and we’re in the right place. The staff that are delivering the service are still the same staff that were delivering the service before the partnership. They will continue to deliver that outstanding care that Katharine House is known for.”
Mr Johnson sees the challenge of operating in the months following a global pandemic as an opportunity to work in different ways. He said: “In this post Covid world there’s a really exciting opportunity to look at how we can provide things in a different way to create even more opportunities to reach out to people and support our community and those in need.
“We are trying to make sure we build real events. I think people are hungry to get out there and take part in things like the Not The Midnight Walk. Our supporters were amazing during the time when we had to do things virtually but I think we are now at the place where people want to do things face to face.”
Mr Johnson, who has a wife and grown-up daughter, is an avid West Ham supporter and describes himself as “a music nerd” who also enjoys walking. He feels it is important people are made aware of the full range of services hospices provide, which is so much more than simply end-of-life care.
He said: “There is a misconception about what Hospices do. They are about maximising life for people. So many patients come in the doors and think they will never see the outside world again, but the overwhelming majority of our patients go straight back out.
“For those patients who come in that we’re supporting, this place becomes somewhere that they create really special memories that last families a lifetime, way beyond the point at which we finish caring for people.”
Anyone wishing to find out more about the Hospice’s services or fund raising events can do so here.
You can listen to our full interview with Trevor Johnson here:
Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam