Judy Dale was the Hospice Doctor from 1985 to 2007. Having trained at St. Thomas’s hospital in London, Judy moved to Worcestershire in the early 1980s with her young family. In a wide ranging and fascinating interview, Judy discusses her need to learn more about ‘total care’, her experiences with Dame Cicely Saunders and the important role of the Primary Care Team at the Hospice. Many other interviewees for this project have commented on Judy’s amazing way with both patients and professionals and her utter dedication to improving end of life care in Worcestershire. On her retirement from St. Richard’s, Judy was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Worcester.
Judy came from a family of doctors and became a medical student at St Thomas’s hospital in London. Whilst she was there, her father died of pancreatic cancer in St Thomas’s. His death made a huge impact on her, as she explains in this first extract.
By the early 1980s Judy was a vicar’s wife in Worcestershire bringing up her young family. In 1984 she met Jenny Bulman, the founder of St Richard’s, and was interested and supportive of the idea of a Worcestershire hospice but it wasn’t until a year or so later that she was in a position to get involved. In this next extract, Judy talks about her need to learn more about ‘total care’ and her experiences with Cicely Saunders at St Christopher’s Hospice in London.
Judy’s first months with St Richard’s were challenging. She believes the hospice team was going about their business in the wrong way – local GPS felt pushed out. In 1986 Judy wrote an essay about the important role of the Primary Care Team. It was never published, but here she reads out a portion of it, expressing her thoughts at this time.
Slowly trust built. In this extract, Judy credits Sheila Gilbert for this. She also talks about ‘the gelling’ of different disciplines.
Judy retired from St Richard’s in 2007 having spent 20 years working at the hospice and improving palliative medicine services in Worcestershire. For her services, she was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Worcester. In this final extract, she sums up how she responded.