THE new chief executive of Barnsley Hospice has vowed to bring the facility back ‘up to standard’ following its inadequate rating at a recent inspection.

The hospice was officially put into special measures in July following the release of the CQC inspection in April.

The report marked its care as ‘good’ but safety, responsiveness to people’s needs, and services were marked as ‘inadequate’.

It noted that staff did not have ‘training in key skills’ and that the service did not ‘always control infection risk well’.

New chief executive Martine Tune, who took up her role in October, has vowed to turn the service around - claiming the hospice will return to an outstanding rating.

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“I came here on October 1 and I have a background in nursing and providing care,” said Martine.

“I looked at the hospice, and looked into the CQC report and I knew that I could help turn things around.

“When I came here, I knew everyone was still reeling from the report but from day one I wanted the hospice to be the best it can be for the Barnsley people, because they have really supported everything we do.”

Some of the outcomes of the CQC report were pinned on the challenges brought about by the pandemic.

While in a stable position now, the charity did face a struggle during lockdown when fundraising events were forced to be cancelled.

Not only that, but the ever-changing nature of coronavirus advice - especially during the first and second waves of the virus - left staff ‘unsure’.

Janine Harrison has worked as a ward sister for the past 17 years, she saw first-hand the challenges brought by the pandemic.

“When the pandemic hit, it was really quite frightening,” she said. “We had to draw on all of our experience to make sure our patients were safe but there was still that worry that you could be transmitting the virus to our patients or vice-versa.

“It was really difficult though because a lot of our work is tactile, such as holding a person’s hand, we still had to make sure we were safe in that.

“And added to that was the fact that families couldn’t come and see their relatives - which I think hit a lot of us hard because we could imagine ourselves in that situation.

“We also get a lot of our information about our patients from their relatives so we found there were sometimes gaps in what we knew about that person’s likes or interests.”

Following on from the pandemic, and the inspection itself, Martine hopes to ‘shake up’ hospice management and wants to thank local people for their support.

“I speak to the CQC every two weeks and keep them informed of what is happening at the hospice,” added Martine.

“For me it’s about transparency, I worked in the CQC for many years so I know what standards they have but we will get back up to that outstanding rating.

“Going forward our board will receive training about good service and good management to help them to progress, and our staff will be trained in situation awareness and we will make sure they are up to date with the latest in palliative care treatment.

“I think right now, we are finding out what does, and doesn’t work, and making changes accordingly. I want to put the staff and patients first and to make sure everything works for them.

“I just want to reassure the public that we aren’t going anywhere.

“The hospice is so grateful for everyone’s support and long may it continue.

The hospice will continue to be monitored by the CQC to ensure that changes are being carried out.”