- The new combined charity will be called Rennie Grove Peace Hospice Care
- All current services offered by both charities will continue as usual while plans to develop and extend them are prepared collaboratively with both teams
- The merger is planned to take effect from target date 1 October 2022
- The proposal is still subject to final approval which will hopefully be received in the next few weeks.
What is happening?
We have exciting news that, after a period of collaborating successfully on a number of projects since 2016, the Trustees of Rennie Grove and Peace Hospice Care are proposing a merger of the two charities to provide extended and improved services for local patients with a life-limiting illness.
The new charity will be called Rennie Grove Peace Hospice Care and will enable us to extend our reach and scope of services across both Herts and Bucks.
The merger is proposed to take effect from target date 1 October 2022 and is subject to final approval from the Charity Commission and the Members of Rennie Grove.
Why do you need to extend your services?
The demand for palliative care is growing with more people living longer into older age with more complex health conditions. Data shows that approximately 1% of the population is diagnosed with palliative care needs. Our vision is to provide every person in our area with access to care, support and advice where and when they need it.
What are the main reasons for the merger?
As a combined unit, we believe the merger will enable us to:
- Serve – provide a wider range of services to support people in West Herts and Bucks to live as well as possible as they near the end of their lives
- Reach – develop new and enhanced services to reach all sections of the local community and meet their changing needs
- Strengthen – use our strengthened combined voice to secure the resources needed to ensure every local person receives the care they need, when they need it
Why are you proposing a merger rather than further collaborations?
This is very much a merger of equals that will produce a bigger organisation with a single voice. This will both strengthen our position and influence discussions as we seek to participate fully in the newly set up Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) and their future vision which is to provide joined-up care across public, private and charitable care providers to maximise efficiency and reduce duplication and complexity. Full participation in these groups will inevitably influence commissioning conversations.
What is an Integrated Care System?
Integrated care systems are partnerships of health and care organisations that come together to plan and deliver joined up services and to improve the health of people who live and work in their area. They exist to achieve four aims:
- improve outcomes in population health and healthcare
- tackle inequalities in access, experience and outcomes
- enhance productivity and value for money
- help the NHS support broader social and economic development.
Is either organisation is financial trouble?
Absolutely not. Unlike many charity mergers, both organisations are in a healthy financial position without merger. This is an opportunity to use the combined resources for growth in response to changes in the way local services are being commissioned and our passion to deliver more services.
Is one organisation taking over the other?
No, this is a merger of equals. We are delighted that our organisations are merging so that the wider local community may benefit from our combined scope of services, expertise, skills and resources.
When will the merger happen?
The target date for the merger to take effect is 1 October 2022.
You say Rennie Grove Members need to approve the merger. How and when will this happen?
The Governance rules for Rennie Grove require that the members be called to an Extraordinary General Meeting. A proposal to merge will be put to the members asking for their approval to merge before the end of July.
Who will lead the new organisation?
Dr Jeremy Shindler, Chair of Peace Hospice Care, will be the Chair of Trustees of the new organisation and Stewart Marks has been appointed as the Chief Executive. These posts take effect on the target merger day of 1 October 2022. Jackie Tritton, currently Chief Executive Officer at Peace Hospice Care will become the Chief Clinical Officer and Professor Stephen Spiro, currently Chair of Trustees at Rennie Grove will retire when the merger takes effect having completed his tenure.
Will the merger threaten the quality and accessibility of local services?
No, we are very clear that both organisations have patient care and services as the key driver for this merger. We are absolutely focussed on ensuring that the merger will not distract us from continuing to deliver high quality services for local patients and families.
Will you be closing services?
We will be building on the quality of our combined services and therefore have no plans to close services as a result of the merger. This is about being able to enhance and improve services and react to the changing needs of our communities to deliver the care they need.
How will the people we serve benefit?
We expect the high quality of care we currently provide to continue. Over time we aim to extend our reach to more patients including those we don’t or can’t fully serve at the moment.
This is the second merger to take place in Herts. Will this affect the delivery of services in Bucks?
Rennie Grove is the primary end of life care provider in South Bucks and our plans for developing more services for our Bucks communities will be boosted by the merger. For example, the new RPCS service just started in Bucks will benefit from the substantial service we and Peace provide in Herts. By delivering the service as one entity we will be able to bring efficiency to the service and reach more patients. It is a key aim post-merger to bring day services to Bucks patients.
What will be the benefits for patients in Herts?
Overall, this is an opportunity to bring together best practise from both organisations. The merger will provide the opportunity to extend our 24/7 model of hospice at home care into South West Herts. We will also look at extending our care for children. Herts patients will benefit from a more cohesive pathway and easy access to the inpatient unit at Peace Hospice Care. Our combined voice will be stronger in commissioning conversations which will help secure essential funding in Herts to provide co-ordinated care, regardless of geography.
What will be the benefits for patients in Bucks?
As above, plus the merger will enable us to create additional hospice at home night teams, increasing overnight support for patients in Bucks too. Greater access for staff to clinical support and expertise at Peace Hospice Care will enhance the quality of care provided to all patients. Our combined voice will be stronger in commissioning conversations which will help secure essential funding in Bucks.
Where will you be based?
The organisation will continue to be based across our communities in Bucks and Herts. The locations we are in support the services we provide and give us flexibility to base our teams where they need to be close to patients. There may be some coming together in our support functions where there is an operational need.
What will happen to trustees?
Trustees of Peace and Rennie Grove will come together to form the new Board post-merger. The make-up of the new board is broadly even with both Rennie Grove and Peace equally represented.
How will this affect volunteers?
Volunteers will continue to be a major and important part of what we do and how we do it. All volunteers at Peace and Rennie Grove will be asked to continue in their roles. We hope the enlarged charity will create even more opportunities for further volunteers to get involved across the whole organisation.
How will the merger affect fundraising?
Fundraising will remain vital to support the delivery of our services and each organisation will continue to capitalise on the strong community support that its name, history and brand generates.
How do I donate to the new merged charity?
What will happen to the charities’ shops?
Rennie Grove currently has 26 shops and Peace Hospice Care has 9. These will continue to be a vital source of income and will operate under their existing brands initially. Rennie Grove has a growing online presence, and this expertise will help Peace’s fledgling online operation.
How will you keep me informed about what is happening?
We will also be providing regular updates for supporters in our monthly e-news. If you don’t already receive this, you can sign up on our websites.
How can I get in touch with you if I have a question?
Please get in touch via our usual channels, either on the phone, website or on email.