In his opening remarks the Honorary Secretary referred to this year of 2014 as marking the 81st year since the opening of the Robinson Hospital which was originally built by Mr. Hugh Taggart (Snr.) in 1933.
The Honorary Secretary referred to the sadness of many with the recent death of Mr. Hubert Taggart OBE on 4th April 2014 and to the fact that he had organised the building of the excellent Health Centre in which the AGM was taking place. He referred to Mr. Taggart as always having an intense interest in the hospital, having served as a Board Member from 1978 to 1988, then as Honorary Secretary from 1989 to 1994 and as Vice President from 1995 to 2012, when he retired from the Board. The Honorary Secretary also referred to the recent death of Dr. W A (Billy) McCartney on 20th May 2014 – a much loved and respected physician to his patients in the district and in the Robinson Hospital over his 40 years of service to the community.
Thoughts and memories of the lives of these two servants of the community of Ballymoney were uppermost in the member’s minds. These sympathies would be sent to the families of both men.
The Honorary Secretary welcomed a new member to the Board – Dr. David Johnston and wished him well.
He then went on to describe the progress of developments for the Day Hospice with improved space within the Robinson Hospital. These should be ready soon and would be situated at the upper entrance to the hospital grounds. The Board had agreed to help finance this development together with the NHSCT. In addition the Robinson Board had agreed finance to purchase two large containers in the grounds to allow storage of much equipment, thus freeing up areas within the hospital and in particular allowing access to and proper use of the dedicated Chapel room in the hospital – an access much requested by patients and their relatives.
There have been many meetings with senior members of the NHSCT throughout the year arranged by the President, Mr. David Robinson, and these had continued to be a vital part of the Robinson Hospital’s relationship with the Trust. Mrs. Una Cunning was welcomed to the AGM on this occasion and she had always expressed support for the staff of the hospital and all the work carried on there.
The changes in GP care rotation for the patients in the hospital, which started in December 2013, has brought an improvement in bed occupancy and in turnover statistics. The new method of GP care has greatly contributed to the ‘viability’ of the hospital and much credit must be given to Dr. Shauna Fannin and the several GP practices working closely with the ‘Out of Hours’ emergency cover.
The Robinson Board’s aspiration to develop en-suite rooms was referred to positively and indications were that the project was coming nearer to fruition. Reference was made to ‘Transforming Your Care’, again emphasising how the Robinson Hospital and surrounding buildings met much of the ideals of that document.
Donations to the hospital, and in particular for palliative care needs, have been greatly appreciated throughout the past year. Many people donate funds in lieu of flowers in memory of a loved one. In addition the hospital has received donations from efforts by individual and community groups – examples given of £3,300 raised by Peter Wilson of Portrush after competing in the New York marathon in November 2013, St. James’ Presbyterian Church Choir raised £1,700 at their annual carol service, Garvagh Show and Glengad Vintage Threshing Club each gave £1,000 and Bellaghy LOL338 gave £550 and other individuals and groups contributed generously.
Recently 30 staff at the Old Bushmills Distillery contributed over £2,000 by each staff member growing a beard and their collection was matched with an equal amount from their Employer (Diageo).
The Caring Caretaker in Coleraine, Davy Boyle MBE, has included the Robinson Hospital in his amazing work of fund raising over the next three years. The Board wish him well after his recent health problems.
The Honorary Secretary referred to the Board’s sense of humility and gratitude to all those who have contributed to the work and future development of the Robinson Hospital and also the interest and support of the NHSCT and the Senior Directors.