A merger between Douglas Macmillan Hospice and The Donna Louise Trust children’s hospice streamlined non-clinical functions and increased service availability.

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Project and outcomes


Project overview

Douglas MacMillan merged with The Donna Louise Trust children’s hospice in March 2021, creating a single hospice on two sites that are geographically close together.

At the time, Donna Louise was not able to provide a daily hospice service. However a 7-day, sustainable children’s hospice was needed locally. 

Douglas Macmillan felt there was a social responsibility to step in to support Donna Louise, but also had aspirations to grow their hospice portfolio. In merging with Donna Louise, there was an opportunity to streamline non-clinical functions and increase service availability.

At the time there was also access to substantial medium term funding from local funder who was keen to support an amalgamated hospice.


Since the merger, Donna Louise has been open 7 days a week so that more children can receive care. This has reignited professional relationships with the local NHS Acute Trust and created a mood of optimism and empowerment among staff.

Fundraising in the local area has become easier as there is now only one hospice organisation to support – the two hospices are no longer in competition.

Tips and advice


Key facilitators

Douglas Macmillan inherited a highly skilled and dedicated team from Donna Louise, which was an invaluable asset.

To help staff from both hospices to see themselves as one team, the fundraising department from Douglas Macmillan was relocated into the children’s hospice building. This also meant there was a visible ‘single hospice’ presence across both buildings.


The merger carried a financial risk and there were concerns about the capacity of the management team to oversee this substantial change during the coronavirus pandemic. However there was a strong belief in the team’s ability to reinvigorate the children’s hospice.

Future development


Douglas Macmillan plans to open a young adult unit, to support transition from the children’s hospice to the adult hospice.