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Hospice CEO recognised for community leadership

March 2010

Hospice CEO recognised for community leadership

Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec) recently awarded Biddy Harford, CEO of the Te Omanga Hospice with the WelTec Medal for her contribution to the community. The WelTec Medal is awarded annually in recognition of an individual’s contribution in the community over a number of years.

Since her appointment to CEO in 2000, Biddy has lead new initiatives in the Hutt Valley and Wairarapa which provide support to those living with a terminal illness and to their families. Biddy is also Vice President of the Hospice NZ Board, where she has been instrumental in advocating for better care for patients and their families nationwide.

On receiving the award Biddy was quick to point out that as CEO she represents the efforts, passion and dedication of all at Te Omanga Hospice. “I’m simply the person people see, representing the work achieved by the staff and volunteers at the hospice – I’m just the person out in front.”

Well known for its innovative fundraising drives in the Hutt Valley, such as the much loved strawberry festivals, the extent of the services provided by the hospice is often only realised by those receiving support. In addition to medical care, Te Omanga provides services such as counselling, art therapy, occupational therapy and access to financial and legal advice.

“People are often blown away by the extent of the service we provide,” says Biddy. “We understand that part of the pain is the non-physical stresses the patient and their family experience. For this reason we provide them with a wider circle of support including counselling, social work and legal help.”

Under Biddy’s leadership, the hospice has also established partnership programmes with general practitioners in the Hutt Valley and Wairarapa to support them to care for their patients.

WelTec Executive Dean (Health, Business and Service Industries), Julia Hennessy, is particularly impressed by the role the hospice plays in the Hutt Valley community.

“Biddy has created fantastic networks within the community and business sector. Te Omanga’s fundraising initiatives acknowledge a significant area of need and then harness community support to meet this need, providing a better quality of care for those in the final stages of their lives.”


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