A very warm welcome to all our readers.
Since this is the first newsletter after the New Year, may I wish all those who read this newsletter a very happy and prosperous 2016.
The role of State healthcare in looking after those in later life may seem to be of relatively small concern when set against the larger issues currently affecting the NHS, such as the proposed new salary structure for doctors, and the series of action days by doctors in protest at what they see as an attempt by the government to impose new conditions on them.
Whatever the rights or wrongs of what the government is aiming to do, it is an inescapable fact that the result of any protracted dispute will impact on patient care. And this in turn impacts on that part of society that The Rosemary Foundation and other later‐life carers aim to care for and support.
If asked, the vast majority of people will say that they would prefer to spend their later days at home in the company of those they love and cherish. It is a sad reality that the NHS, as currently structured, does not have the resources entirely to respond to those preferences, especially at a time when medical advances and increased longevity mean that the number of people seeking such support is steadily increasing.
The Foundation is incredibly lucky ‐ in the nurses and carers who work for us, the huge number of willing volunteers and supporters, and those who help us raise the funds we need to keep going year after year. It will not surprise any of you that our costs increase year on year. The introduction of opt‐in pension rights is one of the latest obligations to place more pressure on our finances.
On another matter, you will read elsewhere in this newsletter of Barbara’s decision to stand down from her position with the Foundation. Barbara has been a mainstay of the Foundation since its inception, and she has many friends, supporters and admirers who have benefited from her kindness, her compassion, and her limitless supply of common sense. We will hugely miss her dedication and skill, but I am delighted that she will continue to play a (hopefully less‐demanding) role within the Foundation as well as spending more time with her family and friends.
She has been an inspiration to all those involved in providing hospice at home care, and we wish her a peaceful, contented and fulfilling semi‐retirement.
In the meantime, I thank all of you who give so generously to the Foundation and who enable us to continue to serve the area of Petersfield and its surroundings. The wonderful families who came to the Lights of Remembrance Service in December left me in no doubt about the affection in which our nurses and carers are held.
Chris Wilton, Chairman of the Board of Trustees