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EDITIONS
Thursday, 28 November, 2002, 20:43 GMT
Review ordered into hospice issues
The Northern Ireland Hospice in Belfast
The hospice has been embroiled in controversy
The Department of Health is to organise a review into internal issues at the Northern Ireland Hospice.

It follows a call from the charity for the department to initiate an investigation into the difficulties it has faced over the last two and a half years.

Northern Ireland Health Minister Des Browne said an appropriate group would be asked to undertake the review as the department has an interest in the hospice because of public funds it receives.

The department said it would put together an expert team and draw up its terms of reference.

Tom Hill
Tom Hill stood down as chief executive
The minister said: "We have watched with growing concern the problems which have developed at the Northern Ireland Hospice.

"We did not want to intervene in matters which were essentially employment matters of an independent organisation.

"However, we have now been invited to become involved by the Council of Management and there is clear public interest and concern over the affairs of the hospice," said Mr Browne.

Staff walkout

There was a mass walkout of hospice staff just before the end its annual general meeting in Belfast on Wednesday night.

There had been calls for the meeting to be deferred until an inquiry was carried out.

In a statement released after the meeting, the hospice renewed its call for a review to be carried out by the Department of Health.

It said: "The hospice needs the department's full engagement in carrying out this review for there to be a conclusive resolution of all issues.

"The department can be assured of the full cooperation and support of everyone involved."

The organisation's chief executive, Tom Hill, announced he was temporarily stepping aside from his post to allow a review to be carried out.

Mr Hill was sacked, then re-employed by the hospice.

Last month, he said he was giving back some of the 80,000 damages he was paid for unfair dismissal and then began work as the charity's chief executive.

His suspension, then sacking, as the charity's administrative director caused two years of turmoil within the organisation. <

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's Tara Mills:
"It's hoped the review will start as soon as possible"
See also:

28 Nov 02 | N Ireland
21 Oct 02 | N Ireland
06 Sep 02 | N Ireland
18 Jun 02 | N Ireland
23 May 02 | N Ireland
17 May 01 | N Ireland
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