Martin House Children’s Hospice has said farewell this week to a treasured member of staff who has made an extraordinary contribution.
Consultant Dr Mike Miller has retired after 11 years of guiding thousands of young patients through the unthinkable - illnesses they will never recover from.
The 61-year-old told the Wetherby News of his time at the Boston Spa-based facility for children and young people with life-limiting illnesses: “It has been really interesting.
“I’m always surprised that when a child comes here, the combined calm, caring and confident manner of the staff always makes things better for them.
“Other paediatricians and nurses say how nice it must be to work at Martin House but now I know that it involves hard work and thought.
“Children and families remain at the centre of our thoughts, always recognising the difficulty of having a life limiting illness or being the parents of a child with such an illness.
“I still say to families who ask what Martin House is like, that it is like having a holiday. It is certainly a break from the ‘real’ world. A place of sanctuary.
“It has been a privilege to be close to families in their difficulties, placing a network of care around the child, allowing them to make the most of their potential.”
Chief Executive of the Boston Spa-based facility, Angela Monaghan said the consultant would be greatly missed.
“Dr Mike has made an extraordinary difference to the lives of thousands of children, young people and their families from across Yorkshire over the last 11 years.
“His knowledge and skill, his compassion and kindness, his commitment and dedication all mean that he is held in the highest regard by everyone he works with and cares for.
“He has also made a vital contribution to the development of children’s palliative care, not just at Martin House but nationally and internationally.
“He is leaving a great legacy, which the rest of the team at Martin House will continue to develop.”
Dr Mike used his love of running with the Wetherby Runners to raise cash in the Great North Run and last year took part in the Three Peaks Walk with a team from the hospice.
But he added that he is hoping for a slower pace of life: “I am looking forward to having time to do a few things properly.
“My wife has not seen very much of me in the last 11 years,” added Dr Mike, from the couple’s Boston Spa home.
“We have two grandchildren - one and four years old - so we are moving down to the south of England to be able to spend more time with them.”
Two consultants will join the team at Martin House on initial six month, part-time appointments.
They are Dr Sue Picton, a Consultant Paediatric Oncologist with many years’ experience at Leeds Children’s Hospital; and Dr Michelle Hills, from Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.