The 2021 - 2022 financial year lived up to all expectations and exceeded a few of them as well. It was a time of ongoing significant financial challenge with escalating operating costs and largely static income. We continued and refined several changes to care services that had been developed in the early days of the Covid19 pandemic.
One of the major changes was a renewed focus on the delivery of community care to patients in their chosen settings and in ways that best supported them as they faced a life limiting illness. This was partly driven by the acute lack of support of skilled health staff our sector is experiencing and needing to shift our capacity to where it best met our patient demand. A medical officer permanently joined the community team further strengthening symptom management being provided outside of our in patient unit.
This year has been one of very limited capital spending and new service development as we focused on core services and the approximately 7% increase in patient referrals. The 2021 national election saw the passing of the End of Life Choice Act. This legislation has tested our resilience in being able to modify our services to join to its expectations. Our organisation's position of not having our staff involved in any end of life act as it conflicts with our philosophy of holistic hospice care has meant very careful planning and communication amongst our teams and patients to make these outcomes happen.
This year we have launched our Mauri Mate project which is focused on being more responsive to the specific care needs of our Maori patients. Our recent 2022 health service audit recognised the progress we are making with this project to integrate its streams into our work. We were also awarded the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce Not for Profit award - a wonderful recognition of the work we do in the charity healthcare sector across Taranaki.
The 2021 - 22 year has been challenging for our people with illness and continuing different ways of needing to do what we do. It has impacted our older volunteer teams and overall a number decided to complete their service to us as their lives became more impacted and complex. I continue to be fortunate to be supported by a committed senior leadership team and a future thinking board led by Chair Mike Brooke who have kept the ideals of our hospice service front of mind in their decision making for our communities.
All staff teams across our retail and care groups have continued to provide excellent services to our communities while often working around difficulties with recruitment of new colleagues and the ever present complexities of the pandemic in their daily work.
At the end of the year the government implemented the start of a while of sector change process with the launch of the Health NZ/Maori Health Authority partnership. This has presented much reflection for our organisation as we consider redesign of service delivery and funding models and how we will join up with them for our future.
In closing we would be nowhere without wonderful community support and the huge contribution so many of you make towards our work. Our hospice is very grateful for your support in helping us provide our services for the folk who pass through our care.
Paul Lamb - Chief Executive