Chinese health experts visit UK hospice

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The group of 20 experts from Guangzhou visited St Richard’s Hospice as part of their fact finding trip to understand how end of life care is delivered to patients and their families.

The visit was organised by the National Gold Standards Framework Centre (GSF) which is the largest provider of end of life care training programmes for health and social care professionals in the UK.

Professor Keri Thomas, GSF Clinical Director, and two of her colleagues, were invited to a conference in Peking earlier this year, by Professor KK Cheng, Professor of Primary Care at Birmingham and Peking universities, to inform Chinese doctors and health administrators about best practice in the UK.

St Richard’s Hospice was chosen to host the fact-finding visit as the independent charity runs the Centre of Excellence for Palliative and End of Life Care with the University of Worcester and is a Gold Standards Framework (GSF) Regional Centre.

Prof Thomas said: “It was a great honour and privilege to be invited to China and to share what we have learned over the past 15 years, helping to develop a framework for all those involved in the care of people nearing the end of life. We are delighted to be able to welcome the delegation from Guangzhou and give them first-hand experience of what high quality end of life care really looks like in a hospice.”

St Richard’s Chief Exec Mark Jackson, said, “We are very happy to be able to greet our Chinese visitors and talk to them in detail out the compassionate care we offer patients and their families in Worcestershire. A key part of hospice work is educating others as to how they too can offer such excellent and whole-person care in other surroundings.

“With a huge and ageing population, combined with its one child policy which is resulting in insufficient younger people to care for the elderly, and a very limited primary care system, Chinese health officials are keen to find examples of best practice to implement.”

The visitors were welcomed by Mr Jackson and listened to Dr Nicky Wilderspin, Consultant in Palliative Care and Medical Director, as she detailed how the hospice team works closely with patients and families to provide the best possible quality of life when a patient is facing a life-threatening illness. They were also given a tour of the hospice.

Dr Sarah Onions, Specialty Doctor at St Richard’s Hospice, has previously spoken to Chinese healthcare officials at conferences both in the UK and in China.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between Chinese government representatives, Health Education England and Birmingham University in April and the GSF team has been invited back in 2015.

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