Here’s the plain reality.

Each day that Presbyterian Support (PSEC) remains in charge of Cranford Hospice adds one more day of delay to the time Cranford can be successfully operated. Because the recruiting of medical staff must be preceded by the recruitment of a competent management team.

What everyone fondly perceives as “Cranford Hospice” must be liberated from the destructive control of the present management team … and that means removing PSEC entirely from the equation.

Cranford Hospice deserves its own independent supervisory board with directors who understand palliative care, humane management, and represent the community’s deep commitment to this unique institution.

Mayor Yule commented on BayBuzz yesterday: “The pressure should not be put on Cranford, rather on those that allowed things to get to this point.”

By any conceivable reading of the independent audit, the management of Cranford has failed. Those who have “allowed things to get to this point” are clearly the managers directly in charge, Barry Keane and Shaun Robinson, as well as their compliant “hear no evil” PSEC Board.

Mayor Yule has volunteered himself as the champion of Cranford … late, but nonetheless welcome.

But the defining mark of any champion of Cranford at this stage is leadership in effecting the liberation of Cranford from PSEC. If Mayor Yule (or Barbara Arnott, or Kevin Atkinson) is willing to lead that campaign, he (or they) will certainly earn a gold star from most in the community, including me.

However, Mayor Yule also commented in BayBuzz: “The pressure that Baybuzz has put on Cranford may have contributed to this outcome.”

The Mayor implies that BayBuzz, by throwing a spotlight on the severe dysfunction at Cranford (amply documented in the independent audit) is responsible for the regrettable temporary shut-down of in-patient care at Cranford. This is a classic case of shooting the messenger.

It is managerial failure that has brought Cranford to this regrettable point … regrettable all the more because these complaints have been on the table for several years, unheeded by PSEC, DHB and other community leaders — like Mayor Yule — who were informed of them.

There has been plenty of time for any of these responsible parties to act. They did not. In the end, it took one courageous complainant and the spotlight provided by BayBuzz to force action.

Once again proving the maxim: Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

So, Mayor Yule, if you want to lead the liberation of Cranford from PSEC, I’m with you. But if you want to attack the messenger (and hey, you’re entitled to), I’m confident you’ll find most regard that as nonsense.

Tom Belford

Join the Conversation


  1. Removing PSEC from the equation sounds like a great idea.As I hear it PSEC is ‘resistant to change’ and non compliant as well…. to legislative change.
    Only now after @ least 12 months are some staff being paid correctly.
    Contracts not deciphered correctly which results in incorrect entitlements.
    A full audit of all staff past and present must be be completed before they exit!

  2. Thanks for the wisdom & clarity of Gordon Vogtherr and the courage & honesty of Stephen Fox.

    Cranford must not be allowed to close.

    Cranford belongs to the people of Hawke’s Bay.

    Cranford is a community asset. PSEC merely owns the real estate. It is not a ‘brand’ in the PSEC ‘portfolio,’ as it has been usurped.

    If Lawrence Yule wants to lead the protest – great – but he has to have the balls to confront PSEC Management and Board with the aim of buying them out or diminishing their role to landlords.

    And Yule has to announce his unequivocal support for both the nurses, who’ve been disgracefully treated, and the outstanding volunteer network.

    There must be a solution.

    Most of the ‘old hands’ who created Cranford still live in the community. These are among the most compassionate people around and I’m sure some of them would step up. And I’m certain other nurses and doctors and volunteers would join them to fill the gaps until a new system is in place.

    At the risk of appearing flippant with such a grave subject as dying – hey – we all have to do it – so lets do as a community, not as part of a business plan.

  3. It is a sad day when our Hospice, so well supported and run, often by volunteers, is threatened. We are now told that Cranford Hospice will close next month.

    This is a disgrace and must be dealt with urgently.

    We the people of Hawkes Bay have to say NO to the closure of Cranford even for a short period. I feel it is up to our Mayor Lawrence Yule to call for a public meeting to gather support for this most valuable community asset, for which many people have, and are still giving, huge monetary generosity as well as valuable time and expertise to support the Hospice.

    The people of Hawkes Bay will fully support our nurses who give so generously of their professional skills.

    Contact Lawrence Yule and demand that he organise a public meeting early next week.

  4. REGARDING MR YULE – The mayor feels it is OK for non-competitive tendering for public works as long as a $500,000 "donation" is agreed upon. Two questions Mr Mayor;

    1) Who "..are those that allowed things to get to this point.."?

    2) Mr Yule will you release details of all public works awarded to Higgins contractors over the course of your tenure as mayor?

    For the record Mr Mayor we are all behind the frontline staff at Cranford.For you to attempt to use the problems as a publicity stunt to garner support is frankly disgusting.All I want to hear from you are answers to the above questions

    REGARDING DAMON HARVEY – a PR advisor.The type of person who would say anything if he was being paid for it.Do you think anyone swallowed your spiel?

    REGARDING KEANE, ROBINSON, NEWLANDS & ABRAHAMS – How much money have these people cost PSEC.If Mr Snee is reading I suggest you "..dis-establish.." these people ASAP. The ACL report will never see the light of day because frankly it will be inadequate.Newlands and Robinson are acquaintances and frankly its just a further waste of money.None of these individuals are fit or will ever measure up to managing Cranford.That Cranford were having to try and recruit palliative care doctors from Europe without informing them of ongoing problems at the hospice is indicative of management duplicity.

    REGARDING HAWKES BAY TODAY – Do not buy this paper.Reporters are told what stories not to investigate and write about.Ron Hall et al ,etc etc.

  5. I, too, am dismayed and disheartened by the disintegration of our Cranford Hospice. It is inconceivable that such a valuable asset should be arbiterally closed because of the actions of bungling bureaucrats.

    There cannot be a household in Hastings , Napier or surrounding district that has not had contact , directly or indirectly with this haven of rest and respite for the terminally ill.

    There cannot be a caring individual within the district who has not contributed in some way, through visiting,donation or volunteer work to the running of Cranford.

    You cannot get the same atmosphere that prevailed in Cranford Hospice in a Hospital.

    Does anyone have answers to the following;

    1) Apart from a palliative care specialist (medical) and palliative care nurse who were the other members of the review body (CRTAS)? I only ask because their statement that they have obliged their responsibilities under the ERA 2000 suggests at least one of them was legally qualified

    2) Why did the review exclude a full financial audit and a review of business and financial management functions? I only ask this question because PSEC seem to have grabbed hold of the finances of Cranford.Why is this relevant ;

    a) Harper Devine review
    b) ACL investigation
    c) John Newland
    I wonder how much money has been wasted by these people.
    So the extremely poor governance of Cranford by PSEC continues.Despite multiple reviews and damning critique by an independent body, “It is essential that the PSEC Board implement effective leadership…” (page 1).
    Page 45, “It is recommended that this is undertaken by a person independent of PSEC and Cranford Hospice..”. Surely not Mr Newland.

    3) Kate Newton of Hawkes Bay Today named Libby Smales as the complainant to the HDC. Kate if you are reading who informed you of this? HDC complaints are protected disclosures.

    I suggest that people think twice about donating to PSEC and instead in the short term donate to HBDHB until the situation is resolved.

  7. In 2008 our gorgeous respectful father was admitted to Hospice, we did not want him to go but reluctantly watched him being wheeled in, we were not sure if he would come out. The care and respect by all parties toward Dad and our family will forever be cherished. After a week Dad was able to come home and the care continued, the nurses, pharmacists, doctors, did not leave Dad or us ever feeling helpless. Dying is a celebration if done with grace, thank you to all of you wonderful Angels , our father was able to say goodbye feeling safe. Angels don't lose their jobs.

  8. The TAS audit team (who are owned by the HBDHB, and other central region DHBs, and are not independent as claimed) and the HBDHB CEO apparently believe the story put out by PSEC CEO, Cranford Executive Director and Cranford Director of Nursing that “it is all the nurses fault” and that the “nurses lack the qualifications and competency required to do the job” and they “are resistant to change”.

    I wonder if the HDHB CEO would have publicly denigrated his entire nursing workforce as he did with the Cranford nurses? I bet that neither the DHB nor Cranford would have ever made such generalized sweeping statements of their medical staff, and of course they should not ever make such generalized statements to the media about any group of staff.

    Why isn’t NZNO holding PSEC to account for their abominable mistreatment of their nursing staff in the last six months or so? If the nurses weren’t so shocked and worried for their professional futures I suggest that they would be taking a group legal challenge to this appallingly mismanaged process.

    We all know that the nursing staff initially welcomed and supported both the Executive Director (ED) and the Director of Nursing (DoN) when they first arrived at Cranford on both a personal level and a professional level. From early days nurses who were still on staff who had previously been in lead roles were given indications that they should step back and make way for new management brooms.

    Some clinical change was then introduced without the necessary lead-in and when nurses proffered ideas to help with this they were ignored; and when implementation of nursing practice developments (developed by nurses themselves) did not get past the backlog of approval by the DoN stage; and when a letter from a group of nurses outlining the issues and their proposed solutions was treated by the ED as misconduct and this took months to resolve; when spiraling deteriorating relationships concerned all staff but pleas to the ED and DoN resulted in their increasingly power conscious behaviour and then the DoN in an apparent fit of pique refused to approve a group of nurses applications to continue their post graduate CTA funded study (i.e. entirely free for Cranford). Who is resistant to change?

    I understand that the nurses have just been given (scant) information about some alternative job options, with the contestable recruitment process involving personality tests and interview assessments of their ability to support and work with change. The information pack does not make it clear whether the Executive Director (ED) and Director of Nursing (DoN) will be on the selection panel so one would assume that they will be.

    So are applicants for new positions needing to be prepared to state their trust and faith in the ED and DoN after the experience of the last six months, and especially after the past two months?

    Cranford nurses as a group have some strong professional leaders and a range of other motivations for working in palliative care. How should they respond to questions about how they respond to change in this climate? Is the correct and sought after answer that they seek to understand the reason for change and to question aspects of it and reflect on implementation issues, or is the best answer that one is professionally suppliant at all times? What does the ED mean when he asks “what have you done to support management?” does he mean “don’t bring me bad news”? does he mean “bring me an apple a day” or does he mean “never question me”.

    As an employer of professional staff myself I would not expect to conduct a review in such a destructive manner that ignores an employer’s obligations to always act in good faith – and get away with it. This employer must be removed from post and at least temporary senior managers installed. The recruitment process should be paused while nurses are given appropriate support and assurances of their rights. PSEC must be required to restore the professional pride and dignity for its nurses and make amends for its abusive behaviour.

  9. The temporary adversity Cranford Hospital is going through will be solved by "hands of staff" (if listended to,in any decision making process.)

    The present Cranford Hospice, "short term problem" reminds me of our "Springhill Adiction Centre" Its not the staff that cause the problems, but "the far removed overpaid bureaucrats "bean counters"

    For a change allow the staff to appoint, a facilitator to assist in some healing, but be careful of most politicians. Long Live Cranford Hospice.

  10. Thanks to the kind golfers(HAWKES BAY TODAY 4.5.10) for raising funds for Cranford.Your skills and generosity has paid redundancy for at least one of their sacked staff.

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