If you read HB Today, you might have noticed this rather modest advert in Monday’s edition (14 March), placed by Presbyterian Support:

Grievances Raised By Former Cranford Nurses Resolved

Cranford acknowledge that the nursing staff previously employed by Cranford were passionate about their roles and the care that they gave.

It is acknowledged that they are capable, caring and ethical nurses who have provided a long history of dedicated service to the Hawke’s Bay community. The level of care provided is reflected in the high regard in which they are held in the community.

The parties agree that the highest level of palliative care is Cranford’s objective.

A TAS audit report and resignation of medical staff led to staffing changes which occurred in May 2010. PSEC and Cranford regret the impact that the changes, and the loss of of the nurses’ employment, have had for the nurses and their families, and wish them all the best for the future.

All parties acknowledge that Cranford has a unique role in delivering a specialist palliative care service, which meets the high expectations of the Hawke’s Bay community.

This is artful settlement language — you can be sure the nurses, who brought their grievances to the Employment Relations Authority, wanted more said; and it’s likely Presbyterian Support wished to say even less.

With this published statement (apology?), a monetary settlement, and — don’t forget — the departure of the two executives and Board chair responsible for the past management of Cranford, this chapter of the Cranford story is closed.

The future direction — the future culture — of Cranford is in new hands. Exactly what constitutes “a specialist palliative care service, which meets the high expectations of the Hawke’s Bay communityremains to be seen. And make no mistake, it has been the culture of care that has been at the root of this dispute for some time.

The ‘new’ Cranford is being shaped by a new Governance Board, chaired by Ken Gilligan (of Unison, City Medical Limited (Napier), Napier Family Centre Financial Trust, Hawke’s Bay Power Consumers Trust, Napier Port lineage). And a new general manager, Helen Blaxland, who previously occupied the same role at North Haven Hospice in Whangarei for twelve years.

The new Cranford Board (read backgrounds here), chosen to represent the community, is yet to be heard from in any meaningful public manner. However, with this case closed, perhaps they will emerge from behind the curtain. BayBuzz is having a chat soon with Chairman Gilligan … we look forward to sharing his vision with you.

Mrs Blaxland has been on the job since November 1 … plenty of time to assess things and begin to make her mark on Cranford. We look forward to hearing from her as well.

Ultimately, it is patients and their families who will judge whether Cranford “meets the high expectations of the Hawke’s Bay community.” Going forward, each one of us fervently wants their verdict to be positive.

Tom Belford

Join the Conversation


  1. Best of wishes to nurses both past and present.

    Questions; How will PSEC meet the huge cost of litigation?Will this be by street appeal this week?

    Will patients and their family/whanau be expected to meet this expediture into the future?

    Will the Specialist Palliative Nurses be expected to take a pay cut/freeze?

    Will PSEC lose it's contract with DHB?

  2. While this chapter of the Cranford story may indeed be over, PSEC's treatment of those who built Cranford's previous reputation will be indelibly engraved on the hearts and minds of the Hawkes Bay community. Lest we forget.

  3. what is a specialist palliative care service?

    Me thinks that by labeling our Cranford such, it opened itself up for huge consequences.

    Poor management caused that fall out, and staff paid the price.

    A piece of paper, or title, does not guarantee you can do the job, or do it well.

    You measured how well Palliative care was working by the people who used its services, the families, the rest homes, the GP's, etc.

    One only heard the highest praise.

  4. Vindicated-I'm not sure all nurses in this Personal Grievance believe this.Being professionals with an understanding of the financial impact that the PSEC/Cranford bungle would have on patient care into the future these altruistic staff opted for closure.

    The populace of Hawkes Bay must have confidence that 'donated' monies will now be used wisely into the future and not spent on costly court cases and the shedding incompetent managers.

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