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History of palliative medicine in the UK

08 March 2013

A history of palliative medicine in the UK has been published, which focuses on the modern hospice movement in the late 1960s to 2010.

The publication, Palliative Medicine in the UK c.1970–2010, looks at the development of the field of palliative medicine and the growth of the specialty. It focuses on palliative medicine and the modern hospice movement developed in the UK from the late 1960s. The book includes the history of the first modern hospice, St Christopher's Hospice founded by Dame Cicely Saunders, which combined palliative medicine with clinical research and teaching.

The discussion addresses the reasons doctors entered palliative medicine, the role of the voluntary sectors, the NHS and the Royal Colleges, the formation of the Association for Palliative Medicine in 1985 and the emergence of palliative medicine as a medical speciality two years later. Academic and professional training and the development of the relationship of palliative medicine with general practice and other medical specialities are also examined.

The publication is a transcript of the Witness Seminar seminar developed by the Wellcome Trust's History of Twentieth Century Medicine Group, which brings together clinicians, scientists and historians to create oral histories. The publication was introduced by Dr William Notcutt and chaired by Sir Kenneth Calman.

The full document is now available to download as a PDF on the History of Modern Biomedicine Research Group website

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