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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 October, 2003, 06:57 GMT 07:57 UK
Hospice discussions 'positive'
The Northern Ireland Hospice charity headquarters in Belfast
Any changes must be ratified by the whole organisation
A meeting of the management council of the Northern Ireland Hospice has been described as positive.

Council members met on Tuesday to discuss recommendations that the adult and children's services be broken up into two separate charities.

They also dealt with the issue of putting controversial chief executive Tom Hill in charge of the children's hospice.

However, that proposal has yet to be put to a vote.

Any decisions taken by management must be approved by the entire organisation in a vote at the charity's annual general meeting next month.

Martin Bradley of the Royal College of Nursing said he had concerns for staff at the hospice.

"This is very stressful work to begin with, looking after people who are terminally ill or looking after children who are very sick," he said.

Tom Hill
Tom Hill temporarily stepped aside for the review

"It is a difficult task, and obviously with all this debate going on around them, it does influence their morale."

For the past three years, a row over Mr Hill has bitterly divided staff and volunteers.

Last November, the Department of Health ordered an independent review after relations at the charity appeared to reach an all-time low.

Mr Hill stepped aside while it was carried out.

The review, published in July, recommended that the adult and children's hospice services should be divided and run as two separate charities.

It also questioned Mr Hill's ability to unite staff. Mr Hill had been sacked, then re-employed by the hospice.

Last October, he said he was giving back some of the 80,000 damages he was paid for unfair dismissal before beginning a new role as chief executive.

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

Hospice bosses welcome review
17 Jul 03  |  Northern Ireland
Questions over NI hospice review
09 Jan 03  |  Northern Ireland
Review ordered into hospice issues
28 Nov 02  |  Northern Ireland
Angry scenes at hospice AGM
28 Nov 02  |  Northern Ireland
Hospice chief to 'donate money'
21 Oct 02  |  Northern Ireland

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