Conor Stubbs and Paul Jones, both part of the IT team at East Cheshire Hospice, received bursaries from the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF).

The funding enabled them to undertake professional training so that they could improve their expertise and create better systems for their hospice colleagues.

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The importance of professional development


In today’s busy hospice environment, it’s not just clinical and front line staff that are pursuing professional development. Non-clinical teams can use the funding to improve their knowledge and innovation too.

Via a process of upskilling and knowledge sharing, professional development has the power to improve everything a hospice does. From the quality of care that a hospice can give, to more efficient fundraising and more innovative IT systems – MCF bursaries can change them all for the better.

Impact and innovation


Senior IT Engineer, Conor, wanted to use his funding to automate business processes and admin tasks. It would also enable him to develop in-house applications to save their clinicians’ time:

“By developing our own apps we’re making it easier for clinicians to check out their devices for patient visits. We’re also developing a recruitment tracker app for our HR team, and an app for our fundraising events.

“Efficiently automating and mapping business processes will be much more cost effective and drive business efficiency and collaboration.”

He says it’s been rewarding and exciting to learn new skills, and explore new areas of IT and how they are used in the workplace.

Streamlining & accuracy


IT Assistant Paul is Conor’s colleague at East Cheshire Hospice. He also used his MCF grant funding to improve skills in creating automatic processes and improve his colleagues’ efficiency. “Streamlining processes,” says Paul, “means that more time can now be spent on patient care.”

He comments that there have been other positive effects too:

“It’s given me greater confidence in my abilities and allowed me to understand what else is possible to achieve with the tools we have.”

It’s just the start for Paul – the training will also have an impact in the future: 

“Collecting accurate data is key in a hospice and a lot of time can be spent correcting errors. We can now create more apps that allow our staff to input information quickly and accurately, preventing data input errors – and saving everyone a lot of time.”

About the MCF Bursaries for hospice staff


Having launched in autumn 2022, the MCF Bursaries for hospice staff aim to support the professional development of individual staff, significantly increasing their expertise in the work they do, rather than training or updating them in the basic skills needed for their role.

Overall, the programme aims to improve the quality of care given to the patients in need of hospice and palliative care, and to their families and carers. Bursaries are available to hospice staff in England, Wales, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

MCF Bursaries can be used to cover 80% of the costs of course fees for accredited courses (up to a max of £1,500 per person per year). 

All applicants must be working in an eligible organisation as Nurse, Healthcare Assistant, Doctor, Allied Health Professional, Social Worker, Bereavement Counsellor, Administration Staff (HR, Finance, Fundraising), Spiritual Care Worker, Pharmacist, or Complementary Therapists.