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Ashgate Hospice > Hospice consultant who cared for thousands of patients to retire from Ashgate Hospice after 21 years

A palliative and end of life care consultant who has helped thousands of patients is retiring after dedicating more than two decades of service to Ashgate Hospice. 

Dr. Sarah Parnacott will step down from her role as Medical Director at the North Derbyshire hospice after 21 years at the end of this year. 

Since joining in 2002, she has seen the transformation of the hospice’s services and guided the organisation through numerous challenges, including the Covid pandemic. 

From caring for patients as young as 18 to those as old as 102 – Sarah has worked tirelessly to ensure each patient has received holistic care tailored to their needs and wishes. 

Sarah, who started at Ashgate two years after completing her palliative care training in Sheffield, said it had been “a privilege” to be part of the organisation. 

“Working at Ashgate Hospice has been an absolute privilege,” said Sarah, 60. “No two days are the same and no two patients experience the same challenges.  

“I enjoy feeling like I make a difference to the quality of a person’s life, especially during those final chapters when every moment is so special to families.  

“Often people will thank me for the help that the hospice offered them and their friends or family in their time of need; it is so uplifting to feel that something positive has come out of the most awful of times.  

“I feel incredibly proud that Ashgate is held in such high esteem by so many people in our community and it is so amazing to hear the stories of how the hospice can make a difference.” 

Sarah’s role has been to manage patients’ pain and symptoms, while ensuring that individuals have the necessary equipment, benefits, social and emotional support to give them the best quality of life.  

As a senior leader at the charity, Sarah has shaped the hospice’s medical services, including helping to launch one of the first virtual palliative care wards in the UK. 

She is also passionate about palliative care education and has trained GPs, consultants, medical students and the wider health and social care community. 

Sarah plans to continue delivering palliative care in the community and in clinics in her role as a Medical Examiner at Chesterfield Royal Hospital. 

She will also continue education work and hopes to travel to different parts of the world during her retirement. 

“I am feeling nervous about partly retiring, but I also feel ready,” added Sarah. “My mum died earlier this year and now I’m top of the family tree!  

“In this work, we see so many people whose lives are dramatically cut short by illness and have regrets as to what they have not done or who they have not prioritised – I did not want to be one of those individuals. 

“There is, however, a real sadness that I will no longer see my amazing colleagues that I work with each day.  

“Ashgate is an incredible community where the sum of what is achieved collectively by us all, far outweighs the sum of our individual efforts. I have been incredibly privileged to work with everyone.” 

Barbara Anne Walker, Chief Executive at the hospice, thanked Sarah for “her endless dedication” after committing more than 21 years to delivering excellent palliative and end of life care for the communities of North Derbyshire.  

She said: “We will miss Sarah’s leadership and her passion for our work. She has been a much loved and respected colleague for staff and volunteers at Ashgate Hospice. I want particularly to recognise Sarah’s exemplary leadership of our clinical services during the Covid pandemic.  

“It is a measure of Sarah’s reputation that since she announced her retirement, tributes have poured in from every team and from both staff and volunteers across the hospice. Sarah’s influence will continue to shape our care for many years to come.” 

Experienced palliative care consultants are now being encouraged to apply for Sarah’s soon-to-be vacant position of Medical Director at Ashgate Hospice.  

The outstanding-rated hospice, which provides palliative and end of life care across North Derbyshire, is accepting applications until 22nd January. 

Read more about the role being advertised or apply for the position online.