My Week: Eve Richardson

The chief executive of the National Council for Palliative Care and the Dying Matters Coalition recounts her week

Eve Richardson
Eve Richardson

MONDAY - An encouraging start to the week after the disappointment of a rainy weekend: Professor Steve Field, the chairman of the NHS Future Forum, makes it clear to the government that more should be done to give people choices about their end-of-life care, including the chance to die at home. This was one of our messages during the NHS listening exercise, so I am really pleased to see it given prominence. In the evening I watch Terry Pratchett's controversial BBC2 programme on assisted dying before doing a pre-recorded interview for Radio 5 on the importance of getting end-of-life care right for the half a million who die in the UK each year.

TUESDAY - I'm up at dawn to get to Broadcasting House for more interviews after the Pratchett programme. I become an expert on the weather and traffic up and down the country because I give 16 regional radio interviews, one after another. Too often in polarised debates about assisted dying we overlook the fact that what most people want is access to high-quality end-of-life care where and when they need it, which is the point I make.

WEDNESDAY - Another early start to meet our chair about our new commissioning guidance for GPs, then a breakfast meeting at the King's Fund on the NHS and public service reform. At the office we have a senior management meeting: the agenda includes a debriefing on our recent Dying Matters Awareness Week.

THURSDAY - I pop in to check on our community development project in Lewisham. We offer a Dying Matters advice service jointly with the Lewisham Pensioners' Forum and Age Concern. It's great to see how our resources are helping people to have difficult conversations and make plans for the end of their lives. Even the two ladies who only pop in to find out about travel insurance go away with our leaflets.

The National Council for Palliative Care is an umbrella charity for those involved in palliative, end-of-life and hospice care.

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