PATCH National Launch October 14th 2015

More than 100 invited guests attended the Scottish launch of PATCH in the beautiful Playfair Room of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

PATCH National Launch

The speakers and our key messages

Mr Alastair Gibson, a member of the College Council, gave a cordial welcome to all. The guests included supporters of PATCH, hospital and hospice staff, members of charities, Universities, and government officials.

Sir Michael Nairn speaking at the PATCH National Launch

Sir Michael Nairn, Chairman of PATCH gave a moving speech referring to his own family’s experience of palliative care and outlining the need for more and improved services and specifically for PATCH with its hospital focus. He also outlined the projects PATCH has already funded and those PATCH plans to fund.

Dr Pamela Levack speaking at the PATCH National Launch

Dr Pamela Levack, Medical Director of PATCH then described what exactly palliative care in a busy hospital would look like and how PATCH began – with the creation of a three-bedded Acute Palliative Care Unit in Ninewells Hospital Dundee. She asked the audience to support PATCH to ensure that patients and families can access specialist palliative care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in all hospitals in Scotland by:

  1. Seeking PATCH funding for improvements in palliative care in one’s own hospital.
  2. Fundraising or finding funds for projects submitted to PATCH.
  3. Subscribing to the newsletter or submitting one’s experience to the website.

Sir Alfred Cuschieri speaking at the PATCH National Launch

Finally Sir Alfred Cuschieri, Patron of PATCH concluded the speeches by observations from his lifetime as a world-renowned surgeon. Having set up the internationally used PROM – Patient Reported Outcome Measure to assess the benefit of surgery, he reflected on his regret that it should have been Patient and Relative Outcome Reported Measure. In this way, and he made this point to the College of Surgeons the care of patients and their families are more likely to be addressed.

Outline of PATCH projects so far

PATCH is funding a training course for newly qualified doctors on talking to relatives about dying. We have also funded:

  • a Glasgow medical student to work with the Tayside hospital palliative care service and a second student to attend a national conference. She won first prize for her 5-year report of an acute palliative care unit.
  • a surgical staff nurse working in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary to do an MSc in Palliative Care and a second staff nurse in the same ward to do a Post Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care.
  • our first research project – a joint oncology and palliative care one looking at why patients with cancer are admitted to hospital in pain and out of hours.
  • a project to develop a programme for young doctors helping them to communicate with families about patients who are dying. The programme will be run by the Clinical Skills Centre, University of Dundee, and the project will start in early 2016.

Projects that need funding

Projects that PATCH has identified but where we still need the necessary funds include:

  • 5-day palliative care courses for hospital staff – a Scottish version of the “end of life care for all” programme in England. St Columba’s hospice nurses will work alongside hospital nurses. We regard this as a very exciting cooperative project in which hundreds of nurses across Scottish hospitals would stand to benefit.
  • PATCH learning system – A PATCH interactive course, designed with the University of Dundee. Palliative care staff and hospital staff would learn together about looking after hospital patients with palliative care needs.

Photos from the evening

Photography by Phil Wilkinson.