Veronica Wilkie is a GP in Droitwich, a Professor of Primary Care at Worcester University and a Governor. In her interview, she not only discusses her personal interest in palliative care and how that came about, but also the changes she’s witnessed in how society deals with death and dying, and how the NHS works with the hospice movement. Veronica’s first involvement with St Richard’s came through Dr Judy Dale who she describes as ‘a very very good tutor’. She recalls meetings in Castle Street and later organising study days at Rose Hill. Veronica’s first formal role for SRH was as a governor, a job that she says is ‘a terrific privilege’. She discusses the role of the governors, the current challenges in palliative care and her hopes and fears for the next 30 years.
Veronica became interested in end of life care when training to be a GP in Worcester. She says she felt ‘slightly uncomfortable’ about the help she could offer patients dying in hospital, so she sought advice from Judy Dale at St Richard’s. This was the start of a long relationship with the hospice. In this first extract, she explains why the hospice movement can offer something different to the NHS, the importance of multi-professional teams and the changes she’s witnessed since the 1980s.
After years of experience in the field, Veronica is now one of the leading palliative care experts in Worcestershire and is involved with training and tutoring the next generation of specialists. She became a governor at St Richard’s soon after the inpatient unit was opened. In this extract, she talks about her role as a governor, and how the governing body works
Veronica believes that St Richard’s is an innovative and progressive place, continually improving its services for people in the last stages of their life. For example St Richard’s runs clinics where patients with multiple illnesses can see all the people they need to in one go, rather than having to make several hospital visits. In this extract, she gives an example of how this helps.