Out-of-hours study awarded RCGP Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Fellowship

Publication date: 13 December 2016

A £40,000 grant has been awarded for research into how to improve out-of-hours palliative care services for people with a terminal illness by the Royal College of GPs and Marie Curie.

Dr Huw Williams, an Honorary Research Fellow at Cardiff University and GP Partner at Westway Surgery in Cardiff was awarded the first RCGP Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Fellowship, which aims to identify and support a future leader who brings palliative and end of life care to the forefront of primary care research.

Dr Williams’ proposed study is based on healthcare workers’ accounts of care given to patients at or near the end of their lives, which have highlighted areas for improvement in out-of-hours services.

His study will utilise these findings to develop and implement initiatives that will lead to more timely and effective symptom management for patients at the end of life, give them better access to out-of-hours services, and increase awareness of patients’ preferences and treatment goals amongst out-of-hours providers.

He also plans to create a guide for organisations wanting to explore quality improvement in the palliative care they deliver.

Dr Williams said: “I am delighted to receive this Fellowship. The PISA Group and our colleagues at PRIME Centre Wales and Aneurin Bevan UHB are excited by the opportunity to translate learning from patient safety incident report analysis into better care for patients receiving out-of-hours palliative care. We look forward to sharing our insights over the course of this work."

Dr Catherine Millington-Sanders, RCGP and Marie Curie Lead for Palliative and End of Life Care, said: "Our patients who are in their last months, weeks and days of life deserve the best possible round-the-clock care at this incredibly vulnerable time in their lives - and GPs and other healthcare professionals need the appropriate tools and support to deliver this.

"We set up this Research Fellowship, indeed this partnership between Marie Curie and the RCGP, in order to improve the care our patients receive when they are nearing or at the end of their lives, and I congratulate Dr Williams in receiving this award amongst what was a very strong field of applicants.

"We look forward to working with Dr Williams and his team, and ensuring that this Research Fellowship translates into better care for our patients."

Professor Bill Noble, Executive Medical Director at Marie Curie, said: “Dr Williams’ study will be of huge benefit to the palliative care community and further our understanding of out-of-hours care, which has received little research attention to date. This is particularly important given that this area of care is the number one concern for people with a terminal illness and their families.

“Having access to out-of-hours care means that people have the support they need any time, any day of the week, 365 days a year. When good out-of-hours care is in place, it can help avoid crisis situations and enable people to be cared for in their place of preference. It can also reduce the need for inappropriate hospital or A&E admissions, and reduce pressure on acute care services. This is good news for patients and families as well as over-stretched services.”


Further Information

To find out more about College’s research awards and fellowship programmes, visit http://www.rcgp.org.uk/research 

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 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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