Clinical Director announces retirement

02 December 2014

THE DIRECTOR of Clinical Services at Wigan and Leigh Hospice has announced she will step down from her role next year.

Clinical Director announces retirement

After almost 14 years at the Hospice Chris Duddle will retire in early 2015.

Prior to joining the Hospice Chris, who lives in Tyldesley, worked in various roles in the NHS after qualifying as a Registered General Nurse in 1980.

She began working at the Hospice as Director of Clinical Services in March 2001 after a neighbour who worked there told Chris about the new role.

Chris said: "At that time I didn't know what the next step in my career would be but my neighbour said there was a new management role at Wigan and Leigh Hospice that I should apply for. From the moment I walked through the door the feeling of the Hospice overwhelmed me. It was friendly and really open - it was like coming home.
"I liked what the Hospice was doing and there was scope to develop it further. I found the local people very down-to-earth - what you see is what you get - they were very passionate and their value set is very similar to my value set. I just knew I really wanted the job and that I could make a difference to the lives of people in my own community."

Chris began her career working at Salford Royal in acute hospital services before moving to A&E as a sister. When the A&E unit closed she moved to the hospital's renal unit which meant Chris was able to establish relationships with patients.

"The great thing about it was I was looking after these people for years, " she said. "I could get to know the patient and try to understand what it was like living with a chronic illness. In some ways it was an introduction to palliative care even though I didn't realise it at the time."

When a friend became a Macmillan Nurse Chris' interest in palliative care began and she became a Hospital Macmillan Nurse at University Hospitals Aintree where she was a founder member of the Aintree Palliative Care Team.

Chris spent eight years at the Hospital where she was mentored by Dr Ged Corcoran, former Medical Director of the Merseyside and Cheshire Cancer Network.

She said: "I'd had a lot of experience across a wide breadth of health care and working in intensive care which gave me a grounding that prepared me for the role. I was there to influence change and practice in palliative care and, although I didn't have knowledge of symptom control, Dr Corcoran said I could learn that and I did. It was while I was there I discovered my love of spiritual care delivery - the importance of caring for the whole needs of a person whether physical, emotional or spiritual - and this is exactly what hospices do."

Upon starting her role at the Hospice Chris created a new organisational structure which involved expanding the nursing team and began a successful search for the Hospice's own palliative care consultant.

She says she is most proud of the staff and volunteers who have helped her achieve her vision of the Hospice supporting more people. The Hospice currently cares for more than 1,000 people with a life-limiting illness every year and offers support to their families and carers. Additionally, a dedicated education team train health care professionals including GPs, district nurses and care home staff in palliative care in order that more people benefit from Hospice expertise - whether or not they ever come into direct contact with the charity.

"I'm proud of the staff who strive to deliver quality care every time and the volunteers who just give so selflessly," she said. "I'm really proud that the service I'm leaving is a very strong service and I really believe we are reaching more people although it's never-ending - you always want to reach more.
"I've only achieved what I have because of the staff and volunteers who put my vision into practice. It has been a true team effort.
"My advice for the next Director would be take time to get to know the teams and don't be afraid - keep pushing the boundaries and continue to develop the service."

Upon retirement Chris plans to spend time with friends and family and travel abroad and in the UK. She plans to volunteer at the Hospice and with animals.

A new Director of Clinical Services will be appointed shortly.


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