Princess Alice Hospice celebrates 20 years of success of the European Certificate in Essential Palliative Care course

Categories: Education and Featured.

Princess Alice Hospice provides expert end of life care and support to people at the Esher-based Hospice and in their own homes. Education and Research plays an important role in the Hospice’s success and is integral to one of their current strategic goals, which is to “share our knowledge and expertise”.

This year the Education and Research team celebrated twenty years of the European Certificate in Essential Palliative Care (ECEPC) course which was founded at Princess Alice Hospice. In 2001, the course launched with 31 candidates; in 2021 it is projected to reach in excess of 7,000 candidates.

The course runs as an eight-week distance learning qualification, aimed at healthcare professionals new to palliative care. Candidates are supported by a facilitator, provided with an extensive course handbook and given access to a comprehensive virtual learning site, which has been developed continuously in format.

Learning culminates in a mandatory assessment day, which in recent years has taken place simultaneously across multiple, global sites. Since the start of the pandemic, the day has been held online via Zoom, with over 350 people joining the most recent assessment from national and international locations.

On 16 September, Education colleagues, and healthcare professionals from different settings gathered in person at the Hospice and online from as far as Australia, to celebrate twenty years of success. Betty Riddle, a longstanding volunteer at the Hospice, was in attendance too, in recognition of the many years of dedicated service she has provided to the Education team since the early days of the course.

At an evening reception, Nicki Shaw, Chief Executive, welcomed everybody and introduced Jane Berg, Deputy Director of Education and Research, to say a few words. Attendees heard recollections from course co-founder, Max Watson, Project ECHO Programme Director at Hospice UK, about the first ten years.

Clair Sadler, ECEPC Course Lead and Senior Lecturer at Princess Alice Hospice, went on to explain how the course has evolved and increased in scope as an increasingly globally recognised qualification through the proceeding ten years. Guests were then invited to watch this video animation.

The presentations were followed by a social gathering over drinks, canapes and celebratory cake, which gave guests an opportunity to share personal reflections and memories. During this time, people were invited to offer up three words to sum up the ECEPC course; words included ‘care’, ‘knowledge’, professional’, ‘confidence’, ‘collaboraton’, ‘hollistic’ and ‘community’.

Clair Sadler said:  

‘’20 years of the ECEPC is a significant milestone. We are so proud of the course and the candidates who have completed it. We believe that the course enhances the care that candidates offer their patients as they approach the end of their lives – regardless of the setting in which they are cared for. We are confident that the course will continue to be responsive to changing needs for many more years.’’


Further information about the ECEPC course can be found at European Certificate in Essential Palliative Care (ECEPC) – Princess Alice Hospice ( or by emailing


About Princess Alice Hospice: For Compassion. For Excellence. For People. For Living.

Princess Alice Hospice has, for more than 35 years, provided free, high-quality, specialist end of life care to tens of thousands of people across a large part of Surrey, south west London and Middlesex. Today, at any one time, Hospice nurses, doctors and other specialist staff are looking after more than 800 people in need.  The Hospice’s mission is to reach out to even more people by delivering outstanding care to those that need it. To enable us to do this, we will rely on the commitment and support of our communities who help us to raise vital funds.

£10.1 million is needed each year to provide these vital and much-needed services. With limited NHS funding, 76% must be generated by fundraising, retail operations, donations and legacies.

Cover Photo: Clair Sadler

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