Dr Karen Groves MBE, Medical and Education Director at Queenscourt Hospice in Southport

Dr Karen Groves MBE, “the driving force behind Queenscourt Hospice”, has announced her retirement.

Dr Groves, who holds the post of Medical and Education Director, is leaving after an incredible 30 years of compassionate care at the hospice, on Town Lane in Southport. 

She paid thanks to the many Queenscourt Hospice staff and volunteers she has worked alongside over many years, as she urged: “We still need to try to fill the gaps that exist for those who need us”. 

Queenscourt Director of Nursing Louise Charnock said: “She has been a role model, educator, colleague, and critical friend to me”. 

Director Debbie Pierce-Lawson said: “I couldn’t be more pleased for her (if a little scared for myself) that she is preparing for a whole new adventure”. 

Dr Karen Groves and her sister Sarah were the “inspiration and driving force” behind the creation of Queenscourt Hospice 30 years ago, when there were no real palliative care services in this area. 

Today, Queenscourt Hospice provides support for the people across Southport, West Lancashire  and Formby. The charity cares for patients with serious illnesses, enabling them to achieve the best possible quality of life at each new stage both in the hospice and at home.

After qualifying as a medical doctor from Liverpool University in 1979, Dr Groves first identified the need for better end of life care after experiencing two particularly traumatic deaths in young women. 

She went on to work as a GP in the Southport area for over 12 years and it was during this time that she and her sister, Sarah, a nurse, sought advice from Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the hospice movement in London. 

On their return they inspired a small group of people to begin fundraising and after much hard work, planning permission for Queenscourt Hospice was granted in December 1988. 

Mayor of Sefton Councillor Maureen Fearn cut the first turf on 14th March, 1990, and planted a copper beech tree which still grows to the left of the entrance to what is now the Terence Burgess Education Centre. 

The hospice building was handed over on 1st March 1991 and the next two months were spent fitting it out ready for occupation. 

Queenscourt opened its Day Therapy and five inpatient beds on 1st June 1991 and later that year increased to a 10-bed ward. 

The following year, Diana, Princess of Wales officially opened Queenscourt Hospice. 

Dr Groves had become a volunteer doctor at the hospice for five years, while still working full time as a GP, until she was appointed as Medical office in 1995. 

In 1996, she became the first local consultant in Palliative Medicine.

In 2012, Dr Groves was awarded an Honorary Degree  from Edge Hill University in Ormskirk. 

In 2014 she was awarded an MBE for Services to Palliative Care. 

She said: “This is a moment to review the past, consider the present and look into the future. As we learn to live with Covid-19 and I retire, this is an opportunity to look back over the past two unprecedented pandemic years, and indeed the 30 plus years of Queenscourt, with huge gratitude. 

“Quite apart from being thankful for getting through to this point, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to all our staff, clinical and non clinical, inside and outside the building, who have worked with such expertise, flexibility, adaptability, and good humour through some really tough times, covering colleagues, learning remote working skills, doing jobs that weren’t even envisaged when the small print was written. 

“We missed the support of our volunteers during the time when they were unable to be with us and are grateful to them for staying in touch and supporting us in so many other ways.

“We thank our local community and our fundraising teams for all they have done to ‘Keep Queenscourt in Service’ and our senior teams for keeping everyone safe and able to continue. We have discovered together what being part of #teamqueenscourt really means. 

Dr Karen Groves MBE, Medical and Education Director at Queenscourt Hospice in Southport

Dr Karen Groves MBE, Medical and Education Director at Queenscourt Hospice in Southport

“As we regroup now, recruiting to vacant posts and reorganising services to meet the ever increasing needs of patients and their families, we are conscious that we move into a new and different world. 

“Just as when Queenscourt began, over 30 years ago, when there were no real palliative care services in this area, we still need to work out how best to do that, with the resources we have available. 

“We hope that Queenscourt will continue to serve the people of West Lancs, Southport and Formby, their families and their health professionals for many years to come. 

“That is of course dependent upon you, the people of this area, your financial contributions, your ongoing support, your volunteering, your prayers, and good wishes, your continued recognition of the work that Queenscourt does, has done and will continue to do.

“Once again, thank you for all you do, in whatever way, on behalf of those who cannot thank you, themselves.”


  • Would you like to support the work of Queenscourt Hospice? Please visit their website here: queenscourt.org.uk
  • If you would like to send a message to Dr Groves on her retirement, please get in touch by emailing: hospice@queenscourt.org.uk or by post to: Queenscourt Hospice, Town Lane, Southport, PR8 3RE.



Do you have a story for Stand Up For Southport? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at: mediaandrewbrown@gmail.com

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