RCGP announces new End of Life Care lead

Publication date: 21 August 2013

Dr Peter Nightingale has been appointed as new clinical lead for End of Life Care (EOLC) by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

End of Life Care has been a clinical priority for the College since 2008 and Dr Nightingale replaces Professor Keri Thomas, who stepped down in March.

He will lead a programme of work in collaboration with Marie Curie Cancer Care to improve primary care provision for patients nearing the end of their life, including vulnerable patients such as those with dementia and learning disabilities.

Dr Adam Firth has also been appointed as RCGP Clinical Support Fellow for End of Life Care to work alongside Dr Nightingale.

The three-year programme will prioritise advanced care planning; patient choice of place of death; pain management; health inequalities, and commissioning issues.

Proposed outcomes include:

  • new clinical guidelines for GPs and primary care teams
  • online tool kits and support for healthcare professionals
  • promotion of primary care training in the area of EOLC
  • identification of local and national developments in EOLC to shape RCGP policy
  • influence and support for clinical commissioning groups in EOLC planning
  • formation of a standing group on EOLC

Since EOLC became a College clinical priority in 2008 the RCGP has produced a number of resources to support GPs including commissioning guidance, a dedicated microsite and the End of Life Care Patients' Charter in collaboration with the Royal College of Nursing.

After consultation with health professionals, practice staff and patient groups across the UK, the new joint programme will link with the RCGP's work on other clinical priorities, such as cancer, dementia and care planning in order to improve EOLC.

This marks the first time that the RCGP's Clinical Innovation and Research Centre (CIRC) has worked on a clinical priority across multiple conditions, rather than being an individual workstream.

Dr Nightingale said: “I am very happy to be working with Marie Curie Cancer Care in leading the College's work in this challenging but also potentially immensely rewarding area of GP work.

"GPs now have a remarkable opportunity to not only help patients live out the end their lives with dignity in the place of their choosing but also, through commissioning, to promote the best possible end of life care.”

Dr Firth said: “I am thrilled to have this opportunity to help shape policy, training and ultimately the clinical care that patients receive at the end of their life. It is a real privilege to be appointed to this role and I’m excited to be working alongside Dr Nightingale to build on the fantastic work of the College.

Marie Curie Cancer Care Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Imelda Redmond, said “We are delighted with the appointment of Peter Nightingale to this important post. Given the choice, most of us would want to die at home surrounded by the people and things we cherish, but this does not always happen.  GPs play an essential role in caring for patients at the end of their lives – especially those who are cared for at home.
“We want to improve end of life care for all patients and that means working effectively with GPs. One of the most exciting things about this project is that it will cut across several other major themes which the Royal College already focuses on -  including dementia, cancer, rare diseases and COPD.  We see this partnership as a defining moment in improving end of life care and helping GPs to deliver the best possible support to people with end of life needs.”


Further Information

RCGP Press office - 020 3188 7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 46,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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