A hospice nurse who rose through the ranks at a Suffolk charity has retired after 35 years.

Verity Jolly, former director of patient services, has worked at St Elizabeth Hospice since the day the hospice first opened its doors in 1989.

Starting as a ward nurse, she progressed through each nursing leadership role, including clinical care mbefore becoming director of patient services in April 2007.

East Anglian Daily Times: Verity (2nd from right) when Princess Anne officially opened the hospice in December 1989Verity (2nd from right) when Princess Anne officially opened the hospice in December 1989 (Image: St Elizabeth Hospice)

During her time at St Elizabeth Hospice, Verity has helped many staff with their development, as well as leading on a number of service enhancements which have made a great difference to the lives of thousands of patients and their families.

These enhancements have included the creation of the Virtual Ward, The Palliative Care Co-ordination Hub and St Elizabeth Hospice’s 24/7 phone line, OneCall, which provides support to patients, families and healthcare professionals.

It was one of the first services of its kind in the UK and now receives 2,500-3,000 calls monthly.

Judi Newman, St Elizabeth Hospice chief executive officer, said: “Verity’s determination to deliver compassionate and personalised care to every patient, supported by the hospice, underpins and informs all our services.

She added: “Much of her work has been recognised as nationally innovative over the years and her insights are well respected by many colleagues in the local and regional healthcare systems.

“Her continued drive to identify solutions to challenges and to find new opportunities for progression, has helped the hospice establish its special place in the hearts of so many in our local community, through our holistic care which touches the lives of so many people.

“We are so grateful to have had Verity as part of the hospice team and we wish Verity and her family all the best for the future, although we will all miss her greatly.” 

Sue Tunaley, head of operations at St Elizabeth Hospice, added: “Verity has been a great mentor to me and many other colleagues. She always seeks opportunities to help others develop their skills through new experiences.

“We can never thank her enough for her brilliant work and support.”