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Pain relief and palliative care around the world – new ideas from a Lancet Commission

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We have very few global landmarks in the evolution of palliative care. So when a new one comes along it is important to take note, to reflect, and to consider the implications. The report of the Lancet Commission on Pain and Palliative Care is such a work. I was fortunate to be asked to join… Continue reading

Why we compared the level of provision of specialist palliative care services in Scotland with European benchmarks

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L-R Michelle Gillies, David Clark, Hamilton Inbadas, José Miguel Carrasco

Our latest study on the provision of palliative care in Scotland has a focus on the delivery of specialist services. We recognise of course that much  palliative care is also delivered in non-specialist settings: in general practices, across hospitals, in care homes, and in the community. A big driver within the Scottish Government’s 2015 Strategic… Continue reading

Christmas 1965, Cicely Saunders writes to American sociologist Anselm Strauss

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Cicely Saunders

As Christmas approached in December 1965, Cicely Saunders could look back on a year of considerable achievement. After seven years, she had decided to leave St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney, where she had learned in-depth the craft of caring for dying patients. She was now devoting the whole of her time to the planning of… Continue reading

To Comfort Always: lessons from the past to inform the future at Hospice UK 2016

Published on: Author: David Clark 2 Comments
David Clark at Hospice UK conference (image copyright Jonathan Goldberg jongoldberg.co.uk)

I have had close links with Hospice UK for many years, serving first as a Trustee and now as a Vice-President. So it was a real honour to be invited to give the opening plenary at the charity’s annual conference in Liverpool, in a splendid riverside setting overlooking the Mersey.  The timing was good too. … Continue reading

Maureen Lipman on Dame Cicely Saunders for Great Lives on BBC Radio 4

Published on: Author: David Clark 3 Comments

Great Lives is a much-loved biographical programme on Radio 4, the BBC’s current affairs and factual radio network. I have often listened to Great Lives at home or in the car and always enjoy the choice of subject, the perspectives of the contributors and the ideas that flow between them. At the time of writing this… Continue reading

A bibliography of the publications of Cicely Saunders

Published on: Author: David Clark 1 Comment

When I first became seriously interested in the life and works of Cicely Saunders, back in 1995, I asked Dame Cicely for a copy of her CV. I noticed and was duly impressed that there were even a half-dozen publications listed from the decade before St Christopher’s Hospice opened, in 1967. I had no idea… Continue reading

A hospice visit reveals the ‘noun’ and the ‘adjective’

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St Margaret's of Scotland Hospice, Glasgow

I’ve visited many hospices over the years so there’s a sense of familiarity about them, but amongst the ‘pattern recognition’ there’s always a unique feature that jumps out, grabbing the attention. No matter how much one believes rationally in the ‘main-streaming’ of palliative care into the whole healthcare system, there is still something about the individuality of hospice… Continue reading

Palliative care or assisted dying? We just need to start talking more about ‘the right to die well’

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the Glasgow End of Life Studies Group meeting in a cafe

In most parts of the world the proponents of palliative care and of assisted dying do not see eye to eye. Palliative care activists say the problems that lead to assisted dying requests can usually be dealt with in ways that do not hasten death. They promote quality of life and reject the idea of… Continue reading