CEO Claire Marshall talks about positive new plans for Compton
Posted on 26 August 2017.
Compton must adapt to meet the needs of a changing environment
Compton has served the community of Wolverhampton, parts of the Black Country, South Staffordshire and East Shropshire 35 years. In that time we are estimated to have supported over 35,000 patients and families affected by incurable illnesses.
However, the environment in which Compton operates is changing.
An ageing UK population means that more people are living longer, many with multiple, complex health conditions. These changes present huge challenges for Compton as demand for high quality palliative and end of life care continues to grow, whilst government funding is declining.
Changes to the way NHS services are commissioned mean that Community and End of Life Care service contracts are being put out to tender. Consequently, Compton will need to compete to retain its contracts and its current level of NHS funding and as a result putting increased pressure on the need to seek funding from the public.
In addition, Hospices are now extensively regulated including by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) whose new inspection regime will mean that care delivered by Compton will be regulated in line with major hospitals. The challenge is to ensure Compton not only delivers excellent care but also clearly evidences that quality in order to meet our obligations to regulators and commissioners, but also to maintain confidence in the patients and families we support.
With such challenges facing Compton now and in the future, the decision was taken to review Compton’s current mission and strategy to ensure the organisation is equipped to operate in such a changeful and challenging time for healthcare charities.
Compton is proud to have conducted its first full scale piece of research to better understand how the organisation and its services are perceived and experienced. An external agency was appointed to conduct the research to ensure the feedback would be independent and unbiased. An extensive range of people including patients and families, GP’s and healthcare commissioners, donors and supporters, staff and volunteers have been and continue to be asked to share their views. This feedback is still being collated and will form the basis of Compton’s new strategy and new vision going forward.
Early findings from the feedback indicate that Compton is viewed very positively in terms of the quality of the care it provides and the role it plays in serving its local community. The research also showed that the charity is often referred to affectionately as “Compton”
However, the research also revealed a significant amount of confusion about what Compton actually does and some fears around the word ‘hospice’.
Patients, staff and external stakeholders fed back that the word ‘hospice’ was interpreted as being ‘a place to die’. Many respondents expressed a fear that a referral to Compton Hospice meant the end and implied a person entering a building and never leaving again.
The Hospice sector have strived for decades to change the perception, however the myth that hospice’s are purely places people go to die is still prominent - as the feedback about Compton clearly demonstrates.
It is important to note that Compton provides care at a much earlier stage of a patient’s illness and not just at the end of life. Increasingly Compton supports patients to manage long term conditions, often over many years. However, the negative connotations associated with the word ‘hospice’ have resulted in both patients and healthcare professionals being unaware that care and support can be accessed much earlier.
The majority of services provided by Compton are delivered in the community in people’s homes – therefore it is also important to dispel the idea that all care is delivered in the hospice building.
Therefore the organisation now faces the challenge of repositioning its brand to ensure its more accurately reflects the services it provides now and in the future.
A decision has not yet been made on the final brand for Compton, further consultation and feedback is still being conducted and as ever patients must remain at the heart of our decision making.
The decision will not impact on the delivery of Compton’s services; however it may promote a greater understanding of what we do.
Our commitment to providing the very best level of care will continue to be our priority.