University of Worcester links up with local hospice to launch ‘pioneering’ centre for palliative care

Professor Mayur Lakhani CBE, Chair of the National Council for Palliative Care, officially opened the University of Worcester and St Richard’s Hospice’s Centre for Palliative Care (CPC) yesterday, calling the collaboration an ‘inspired move’.

The project, which has been developed by Dr Brian Nyatanga, Senior Lecturer in Applied Professional Studies at the University of Worcester and Robert Standfield, Head of Education at St Richard’s, will bring together clinicians, educationalists, patients and carers, academics and researchers to share their expertise and improve end of life care.

Working in wider partnership with health and social care providers, commissioners, charities and government agencies, the CPC will also be committed to stimulating the debate about death and dying, and encourage people to openly talk about death and dying in a safe and supportive environment.

Speaking at Thursday’s launch event at the University of Worcester Arena, Professor Lakhani said: “I congratulate the University of Worcester and St Richard’s Hospice for this inspired decision, which is a brilliant and bold move.

“The vision and leadership they have shown to create this Centre is most welcome – it is very timely.”

The Centre is just the second of its kind in the country and is designed to be a ‘hub of best practice’ for the West Midlands region.

Professor Lakhani continued: “Things are getting better in this country in terms of palliative care, but we still have a long way to go.

“The case for change is strong – somebody dies in Britain every minute, and 92,000 people every year have palliative care needs that are not identified. If this was another illness or condition, that would be regarded as a scandal, but we don’t talk about palliative care in the same way.

“We have much more work to do, but when academia and services come together – as they have in this partnership between the University of Worcester and St Richard’s – they create a golden partnership, and one that can make a big difference.”

He added: “The existing East Midlands Centre is paying real dividends, and with the pioneering spirit that the University of Worcester and St Richard’s have shown, this Centre can also help make a real difference.”

Also speaking at the launch event were Professor David Green, Vice Chancellor of the University of Worcester, Mark Jackson OBE, Chief Executive of St Richard’s, and Dr Jan Quallington, Head of the Health and Society at the University of Worcester, who described the launch of the Centre as a further example of the University ‘making an impact’.

“We aren’t a University that sits on the sidelines,” she explained. “This Centre is a public display of how strongly we value compassion and the emphasis we put on making a positive impact in our community.”