At our last meeting on 9 November we hosted Brent Alderton CE of the Mary Potter Hospice. Brent took up this position in 2018, prior to which he was CE of the Commerce Commission, a position he held for seven years.

He acknowledged the role of Rotary in the community and talked about key roles of the hospice movement. Hospice care is not limited to the last days and weeks of life. Their approach is to put life into days, not days into life.

Mary Potter Hospice was the first hospice in New Zealand and was established in 1979 by Mary Potter a nursing sister. The organisation has 174 staff, assisted by approximately 600 volunteers. It has a budget of $15m of which $7m comes from government funding.

Brent says their challenges are an increase in demand for services; equitable access to services; shifting to community based care; staffing both paid and unpaid; competition for funding and financial sustainability.
To this can be added challenges posed by covid and by the implementation of the End of Life Choice Act. Mary Potter Hospice chose to consciously object to the bill and will not administer euthanasia.
Brent’s talk was followed by a wide range of questions.