Former Chief Executive of Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS), Maria McGill has been awarded her CBE medal at a royal investiture ceremony held at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
Maria, who lives in Edinburgh, was named on the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2020 for services to palliative and end-of-life care and children but was unable to receive her award in person until now because of the pandemic.
She was one of 115 individuals to finally receive their honours from Princess Royal, Princess Anne in the Capital on Wednesday 19 January.
A former frontline nurse, Maria has dedicated almost all of her career to the field of palliative and end of life care and led CHAS, Scotland’s only children’s hospice charity, through significant change from 2010 right up until her retirement in 2020.
An innovative leader, she commissioned the first country-wide dataset in the world showing the number of children with life-shortening conditions and their needs. This information was used to plan new services, increase the number of children and families supported and importantly to increase NHS funding.
Before moving into formal leadership roles, Maria was a caring and dedicated nurse, working in community and intensive care before moving into hospice care.
Maria said: “I am proud and honoured to receive my CBE. It was an incredible privilege to serve CHAS, leading a wonderful team of staff and volunteers who are so dedicated to caring for children and families across Scotland.
“Children’s hospices are always about the art of the possible, working with families in the most difficult of times to create precious memories, the biggest of smiles, and moments of joy. I will always be deeply grateful for having had the opportunity to play a part in the story of CHAS.”
Rami Okasha, who took over from Maria as CEO at CHAS in 2020, said: “This award for Maria is a remarkable recognition for her work with CHAS and children’s hospices and is truly deserved. Maria’s personal warmth, compassion and humanity underpinned everything she did to grow CHAS and reach all the children and families we support right across Scotland.”
Pic caption: Maria McGill, former CHAS Chief Executive with her CBE medal
- CHAS is the only charity in Scotland that provides hospice services for babies, children and young people with life-shortening conditions. The national charity offers palliative care and respite for the whole family via its two hospices, Rachel House in Kinross and Robin House in Balloch, and its CHAS at Home service supports families in their own homes and has teams working in hospitals across the whole of Scotland.
- Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS) is on a mission to reach every family in Scotland that needs us.
- The hard truth is that right now, CHAS only reaches one in three children who die of a life-shortening condition in Scotland; we are determined to reach them all. Quite simply we need more specialist care providers to help reach every family, and to do that, we need to raise more money.
- We make sure that no matter how short family’s time together may be, it is filled with happiness and vitality. We keep the joy alive by helping families to celebrate the lives of their children while they are together, and to honour their memory when they are gone.
- In light of the coronavirus pandemic, CHAS has innovated to meet the needs of children and families which has accelerated their ability to reach every child. The charity did this by launching the UK’s first virtual children’s hospice at the beginning of the pandemic and is continuing to prioritise end-of-life and emergency care in hospice and children’s homes and supporting the NHS and the Scottish Government in this national effort.
- Follow CHAS on Twitter and Instagram: @supportCHAS, or like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/supportCHAS