After a nursing career spanning more than 40 years, Janet Dunphy, Blythe House Hospicecare and Helen’s Trust CEO, is retiring.

Janet has been at the helm here at Blythe House and Helen’s Trust since 2015, after dedicating her working life to nursing, with 34 of those years in palliative and end of life care.

In her seven years here at the hospice, Janet has overseen a number of prominent and exciting changes to local hospice services.

Janet directed the inception of our hugely successful Hospice at Home service, which has provided over 76,000 hours of care since it began in 2016. The service sees healthcare assistants provide day and night-time care across the local community to patients who wish to die in the comfort of their own home.

Complementing Hospice at Home is the award-winning Community Volunteer programme, which Janet spearheaded from the start, seeing volunteers support patients and their families with tasks including  shopping, running errands, gardening, dog walking, or simply ‘being there’ so a family member can rest.

In recent years, Janet has managed the revamp of hospice services to ensure as many local people as possible are able to access care and support when they need it; the renovation of our hospice building to make it more accessible to patients and visitors; and the thriving partnership with fellow end of life care charity, Helen’s Trust.

Janet said: ‘I want to say a huge and sincere thank you to everyone that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and working with here at Blythe House and Helen’s Trust. It is an honour and a privilege to look back on my time here, and to see everything that we have been able to achieve together. I am so very grateful to have ended my long and fulfilling career at a place where everyone cares so much, and is working towards the same, shared goal.

‘I want to acknowledge Tim Mourne, chairman of the board of trustees, and all the trustees who govern this ship. It is no easy task; it takes lots of time, wisdom, skill and compassion. Nothing would happen without them and we certainly would not be as safe as we are in these difficult times. It is a massive responsibility, and they work tirelessly.

‘To our volunteers, I want to say that whatever your role, without you we would not have achieved what we have during my tenure, indeed we wouldn’t even be here at all.  You were my reassurance throughout. You chose to build and maintain your local hospice, you know how much it is needed, and I know you will carry on making sure that it continues as the safe place in your community, for anyone diagnosed with, or affected by, life-limiting illness.’

Shane O’Reilly will become the hospice’s new CEO on Monday 2nd May. Shane joined the hospice in 2020 as clinical services manager, after spending more than 18 years as a senior NHS physiotherapist with special interests in motor neurone disease and respiratory conditions including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Shane said: ‘I am delighted to be appointed to the chief executive role and I am looking forward to building upon the hospice’s commendable history, and its outstanding reputation both locally and nationally.

‘Within the last year, we have seen a huge rise in the demand for our services, and we are proud to have met and exceeded those challenges. In the future, I am looking forward to continuing this incredible work alongside dedicated staff and volunteers, delivering the care that we know is so very needed in our rural communities.

‘My sincere thanks to everyone who volunteers for the hospice or supports us in any way. We would not be here without you and I am personally so very grateful for your time, commitment and support.’

Janet concluded: ‘I leave Blythe House and Helen’s Trust in a very good place, clinically and financially and in very safe hands as Shane O’Reilly takes over. I’m proud to hand over to him, I know how much he cares and how talented he is. I have every confidence that Shane’s knowledge, passion, strength and commitment will take you into yet another exciting phase of success.’

We wish Janet all the very best for her retirement and thank her sincerely for her many years of devoted service to people affected by life-limiting illness.