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Gossip in the air at hospice

By This is Kent  |  Posted: March 11, 2011

  • E-MAIL: Hospice in the Weald chief executive Rob Woolley wrote to members of staff to stop the gossip gathering further momentum

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THE chief executive of Hospice in the Weald has moved to quell "gossip" and "rumour" surrounding a wave of staff exits.

Those who left last month or have given notice at the Pembury-based charity include the head of counselling support services, head of fundraising, head of retail, the chaplain and the facilities manager.

Chief executive Rob Woolley, who joined the 17-bed hospice six months ago, took the unusual step of contacting all staff and volunteers, urging them to "respect the decisions" of departing staff.

He also aimed to address what he called "ripples of concern" among the 142-strong workforce and 750 volunteers in his e-mail along with a statement from the senior management team.

It said: "The senior management team do not believe the recent cluster of resignations by staff should be a reason to worry."

He added: "All the staff who have notified the hospice of their intentions to leave have personal reasons. It is unfortunate that there have been a number of announcements in a short space of time. However, this is no reason for others to read anything negative into this."

He told them it was "healthy" for organisations to have a "reasonable level of staff turnover".

He said no one had been asked to leave or had been made redundant at the hospice in Maidstone Road.

Speaking to the Courier this week, Mr Woolley said morale was high but conceded there might be "a couple of malcontents" or people who assumed staff had been "pushed or had jumped before they were going to be pushed".

He said in the past five months eight employees had left or had given notice, seven of whom were listed on the staff letter.

An anonymous member of staff had contacted the Courier with the e-mails and accusations of low morale.

Mr Woolley said there was a "general malaise about the recession which worries people" but added: "Coming from the RAF, I am always keen on morale. It's quite a complex thing to measure but we have had lots of discussions about morale and I would say it is high.

"We sent this e-mail because we wanted to nip rumours in the bud to maintain that morale."

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    John, Tunbridge Wells  |  March 18 2011, 1:40PM

    Constructive dismissal is a form of dismissal. If you resign from your job because of your employer¿s behaviour, it may be considered to be constructive dismissal. This has been the case at the Hospice. It is unclear why the Trustees have allowed the CEO to embark on such a destructive course. His precipitant actions can only be harmful to the goodwill the Hospice has built up over many years before the arrival of the new CEO who seems to think a Hospice can be run on the same lines as the RAF. The CEO needs the confidence and cooperation of the staff and clearly he has not gained that in the brief period he has served. The Trustees should wake up before it is too late and permanent damage is done. The Hospice survives on the goodwill of the staff and the wider community it serves.

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    A, Internet  |  March 11 2011, 8:58AM

    Found this, he was CEO and had to leave this hospice when they wasted 50k on paintings. Now an mp is looking into it. http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk:80/news/local/painting_row_hits_trinity_donations_1_841587 http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk:80/news/local/probe_launched_into_163_50_000_hospice_art_1_391445

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    Bob, Internet  |  March 11 2011, 8:45AM

    Rubbish, all the staff want to leave since the bullying has started