Hospice NZ Chief Executive Mary Schumacher resigns after 16 years at the helm.

Mary Schumacher

The chief executive of Hospice New Zealand is stepping down after nearly 16 years leading the organisation.

Previous Board chair, Richard Thurlow said Mary had led many achievements over the years and is well regarded nationally and internationally for her expertise and experience in the palliative care sector.

“Mary has had a substantial and positive impact on the quality and strategic direction of hospice care in New Zealand. Hospices are in a position to be a significant part of end of life care for New Zealanders both today and into the future, including in the context of the current healthcare reforms, thanks to her commitment,” he said.

“Under her leadership many high impact pieces of work have influenced the development of palliative care and end of life care for all New Zealanders, including the Hospice New Zealand Standards for Palliative Care and the Fundamentals of Palliative Care and the Foundations of Spiritual Care training programmes.”

“Mary has led negotiations with government to secure significant increases in funding for all services throughout New Zealand to ensure hospice care remains free of charge. Her abilities in building strong working relationships with several different Ministers of Health, the Ministry of Health and other palliative care organisations have brought large benefits to all hospices,” he said.

In July 2020, Mary was awarded an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Palliative Care.

Mary is proud of what Hospice New Zealand has achieved in her time as chief executive.

“My focus has been on our members and working together. I believe strongly that all New Zealanders deserve the same access to quality palliative care regardless of where you live,” says Mary.

Mary says the organisation is well placed to embrace the challenges ahead if unity and equity remain at its heart.

Wayne Naylor, currently the Clinical Programme Manager at Hospice NZ will act as Chief Executive until a permanent appointment has been made.

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