CEO Steve Statham discusses his retirement and St Luke’s
Chief Executive of St Luke’s, Steve Statham, has announced he will be retiring in April 2023 after six years’ service in the role and 18 years with our charity.
Here he discusses his retirement and time at St Luke’s and how he will be leaving the charity in very capable hands.
There is never a ‘perfect’ time to leave a job and organisation you hold very dear, but both personally and professionally it feels like the right time for me to hand over the reins to a successor who will bring with them their own ideas and leadership style.
The decision to retire next year has not been an easy one – not only because I’m incredibly proud of the service that together we have grown, shaped and honed so that it’s the very best it can be for our patients and their families, but because the St Luke’s team are the best of the best.
If you’ll bear with me, I’m going to repeat a story that I’ve told at many a Welcome Day over the years, and it goes back to when I first set foot inside Turnchapel for my interview as HR Director 18 years ago. If I’m completely honest, it was more about getting interview practice than securing the job itself. After all, I told myself, wouldn’t a hospice be rather a depressing place to work? Of course, I was wrong – something that didn’t take long to dawn on me. And, by the time my interview was over, I really wanted the job!
St Luke’s empathy, compassion and positivity was absolutely palpable that day at Turnchapel, just as it always is there or wherever you come into contact with our staff and volunteers. It’s what inspired me to take the job and progress to the role of Chief Executive (via a few years in the Deputy position), and though it’s hard to describe the special atmosphere to people who’ve never experienced it, it’s what I still feel every single day when I come to work.
Being CEO is not a nine-to-five job, far from it, and that’s exactly what you’d expect. Even when I’m out and about in the evenings and at weekends, there are always people wanting to talk to me about St Luke’s and share their personal stories of the difference our team made to them in the midst of a very tough time. In that sense, as CEO you are always ‘on’, but this has never felt like a burden to me. The attention and feedback from our community is simply testament to how much our staff and volunteers do for these families, always exceeding expectations and leaving them with memories that still bring them comfort, even many years on.
Reflecting on my time at St Luke’s and what I feel proudest of – alongside my colleagues – is the way our organisation has continuously innovated to keep pace with the changing needs of our patients, who always come first. There have been times when we’ve had to make difficult decisions, but it’s this agility and patient-centred approach that has helped us adapt and thrive, maintaining the trust of our community and meeting them at their point of need, wherever they happen to be.
I am also proud of the partnerships we have built and strengthened along the way, including with University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, Marie Curie and Livewell South West, that are so critical to the delivery of seamless care for patients.
While none of us will forget the pandemic in a hurry, so relentless did it feel for us all, what it did for St Luke’s is shine a light on our specialist knowledge and skills in end of life care and bereavement support, which were in demand more than ever before. The way our teams reacted swiftly to help ease the load on our health and social care partners, dealing with huge challenges with such good grace, has been noted throughout our local networks, increasing awareness of, and respect for, what we do.
Even more so than before, they will look to us for their education needs, recognising how valuable our expertise is to them. This is especially heartening given St Lukes’s continued investment in our Education team and its provision for health and social care providers, from GPs to care home staff.
In closing, I want to reassure you that during the next six months before my retirement starts, I will be committed to leading St Luke’s diligently.
I will be leaving our hospice in good shape and in very capable hands. Though it will be very hard to say goodbye in April, it is my trust in our team that gives me complete peace of mind as I plan the next phase of my life.
Travelling…cycling…yes, there’ll be more time to enjoy those, but apart from that I’m remaining open to what retirement may bring. What is certain is that I will take with me huge pride, respect and appreciation for all my colleagues right across St Luke’s our unwavering supporters and fantastic memories of an exceptionally special time.