Prospect Hospice CEO to step down in 2023

October 2022


Prospect Hospice’s CEO, Irene Watkins, has announced that she will be stepping down from the role in 2023 after more than four years of leading the charity.

Irene, who joined Prospect Hospice as interim Chief Operating Officer in September 2018, was appointed CEO in May 2019. Since then, she has successfully led the charity through the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and, in October 2021, Prospect Hospice was given an overall rating of outstanding following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Prospect Hospice’s chair of trustees, Dr Kevin Howard, said that Irene has exceeded what the board of trustees asked of her when she was appointed and under her leadership the charity is recognised as having an inspiring shared purpose to deliver outstanding care.

“None of us could have envisaged that less than a year after Irene’s appointment our traditional ways of providing care to patients and families, and our usual ways of raising money to provide that care, would be turned upside down by a pandemic,” said Kevin.

“But Irene rose to the challenge and she and her leadership team immediately instigated new ways of working to reflect the new approaches to providing support and using the hospice’s resources effectively. It’s a tribute to Irene’s leadership skills and inclusiveness that staff, volunteers, patients and families all adapted so easily to these new approaches to care.

“I’m delighted to say that Irene and the board have agreed that there will be a transition period into 2023, so that her experience and knowledge concerning end-of-life care in Swindon and north east Wiltshire can be shared extensively and support whoever takes on the role of CEO in the future. On behalf of the board, staff and all those whose lives are touched by Prospect Hospice I thank her for the vision, leadership and energy that she has brought to the role.”

Irene Watkins said the past four years have been some of the most rewarding of her entire career because Prospect Hospice is such a special organisation.

“When the position arose to become the chief executive, I felt that this would be a wonderful opportunity to build on the future for Prospect Hospice and to ensure that it stays at the very heart of the local community that it serves,” said Irene.

“The clinical and financial pressures that Covid-19 brought certainly added an additional dimension to the role, but I have been so lucky in having the support of the most dedicated and hard-working colleagues and volunteers.

“It hasn’t always been an easy journey, but the CQC inspection summed up what a fantastic job the people at Prospect Hospice do, day in and day out, whatever challenges they face. One of the most rewarding comments I read in the CQC report was that staff feel proud to work within the hospice team. That sums up how I feel, too. I am very proud – and fortunate – to have worked alongside such an amazing group of people.

“It hasn’t been an easy decision to leave, but I do have some other projects I’d like to work on, and now feels like the right time to start handing over the reins to a successor. I shall always be cheering Prospect Hospice on from the side-lines and I know it will continue to be at the heart of the community in the future.”

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