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St Ann’s Hospice announces new chief executive

St Ann’s Hospice in Manchester has announced the appointment of Rachel McMillan as its new chief executive.

Rachel, who is the organisation’s current deputy chief executive and director of clinical services, will take over the role from the current CEO Eamonn O’Neal in October. O’Neal will remain part of the organisation, taking on a new position as director of strategic initiatives, a role which will help to drive forward the charity’s plans for a new hospice building in Heald Green, Greater Manchester.

Rachel said:

“It’s such a privilege to be taking on this role, especially as the hospice reaches its 50th anniversary next year, and enters a new chapter in its history.  I’m honoured to work with such a fantastic team, and incredibly proud of the reputation St Ann’s has in our local community.

“It’s been a challenging time for the hospice, as we’ve had to adapt to continue providing specialist, personalised care to our patients throughout the pandemic, but I’m so proud that our teams have embraced the challenges that have come their way, and have proactively sought solutions that mean the very best for our patients. 

“The needs of the patients and their families are at the heart of everything the hospice does and that is so important to me. I know that even as we enter a period of change and exciting developments in our history, ethos and purpose will always remain the same. I am really looking forward to leading the organisation through this next exciting chapter.”

St Ann’s Hospice, which operates from three sites in Greater Manchester offers care and support to thousands of people with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses every year. It is one of the oldest and largest hospices outside of London and is a charity which is partially funded by the NHS with the rest of its income – around £20,000 a day – needing to be fundraised.

Professor Jackie Oldham, chair of the board at St Ann’s, said:

“This is a great appointment at an exciting time for St Ann’s. 

“Rachel brings considerable knowledge and experience to the role and we are delighted she will be leading the organisation as we enter our fiftieth year.”

Rachel began her career as a nurse working in Withington Hospital, and in The Christie Hospital NHS Trust, in a variety of roles, including a staff nurse, senior staff nurse, ward manager and senior nurse/modern matron. She also worked at Marie Curie Cancer Care as nursing services manager, before joining St Ann’s as director of clinical services in 2012. She has carried on the director role alongside the position of deputy chief executive, which she took on from 2016, following a period as acting chief executive in 2015/16.

Eamonn O’Neal, chief executive of the hospice, said:

“It’s been such an honour to be CEO of St Ann’s for more than four years, and I’m thrilled to be able to hand over the reins to Rachel.  She is a fantastic leader, with a clear vision of the next phase of St Ann’s journey. She is perfectly placed to ensure the hospice is ready to embrace the challenges and opportunities of our 50th anniversary year and beyond.

“Rachel has been the most supportive and talented deputy any CEO could wish for and I’m looking forward to working alongside her in my new role as director of strategic initiatives. Together, and with the help of the whole team, we’ll realise our ambitious plans for a new hospice building in Heald Green, so we can continue to provide vital, specialist care and support to local people for many generations to come.”

Rachel will lead the team of more than 350 staff and 700 volunteers who support the complex business. The hospice, alongside its core clinical services, also has a range of online and high street shops, as well as a hospice lottery and wide-reaching fundraising proposition. It will enter its 50th anniversary year in 2021, with a wide range of activities and events planned to celebrate this important milestone.

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