Palliative care in the spotlight as global awareness day nears

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day (WHPCD) takes place on Saturday, October 8th and is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness on a global scale about the importance of palliative care.

Palliative care is something we take very seriously at Shropdoc - indeed, we launched our new Palliative Care Line in March 2020 and it has proved hugely successful with many people calling on us for help and support during those critical hours when GP surgeries and healthcare professionals are not so readily available.

Nearly 4,000 people called the Shropdoc palliative care line in the last six months - with many calls resulting in visits and further care.

How it works

It was a service conceived out of the pandemic and follows on from our close ties with Severn Hospice, ensuring the best possible care is always available for people when they need it. 

A GP will refer a patient to us if they will benefit from our palliative care line, which is extremely user-friendly:

  • A patient or their carer phones our care line and speaks to a call handler.

  • They provide details of any treatment the patient is receiving.

  • A clinician will call back within 20 minutes.  

  • A home visit will be arranged if the patient needs to be seen by an urgent care practitioner.

  • The patient’s GP surgery is informed of the action we have taken by 8am the following day.

Professor Derek Willis, Severn Hospice’s medical director, said: “It has been a real pleasure developing an effective relationship with Shropdoc over several years. It is not just professionally satisfying to have this but vital to the ongoing care for those patients in the region that have palliative or end-of-life needs.

“We have always found Shropdoc to be professional and always wanting to do their best for this group of patients.”


Important theme

The theme of this year’s WHPCD is Healing Hearts and Communities and recognises how grief and the will to heal brings people from all over the world together within that shared experience.

This was never more relevant with the world still reeling from an estimated six million deaths during Covid. WHPCD unites communities, institutions and healthcare providers in a common goal to advocate palliative care policies and programmes in support of the needs of patients and families.

It is also an opportunity to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care around the world, while allowing those affected to speak out about experiences of grief, loss and bereavement. 


A growing need

According to Global Atlas of Palliative Care, more than 56.8 million people are estimated to require palliative care every year. This includes 31.1 million prior to and 25.7 million near the end of their life. The majority, 67%, are adults over 50 and at least 7% are children, and 54% are non-decedents who need palliative care prior to their last year of life.

The day is organised by the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance, an international charitable organisation which provides organisational members in more than 100 countries. WHPCD is organised in collaboration with International Children’s Palliative Care Network, Palliative Care in Humanitarian Aid Situations and Emergencies, and The International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care.

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