Winter lecture series: A reflection on uniting love and skill in the art of human caring

by Richard Meade
Head of Policy & Public Affairs, Scotland

Richard Meade, David Reilly and Mark Hazlewood
Dr David Reilly (middle) with Richard Meade (right) and Mark Hazlewood, Director of the SPPC.


This week Marie Curie – along with our partners, the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care (SPPC) – hosted the first lecture of our new winter lecture series.

As the charity moves to deliver on its new vision to make a better life for people and their families living with a terminal illness, it is our aim to lead the way on different thinking and new ways of working.

To this end, our programme of lectures brings together professionals across health and social care, as well as academics and politicians, to think about how we can improve care for people who are terminally ill and approaching end of life.

Dr David Reilly, Director of the Wellness Enhancement Learning and The Healing Shift Programmes, presented the first lecture and set out how he believes the human side of care is “under unacceptable strain”. This struck a chord with the audience who, when asked if they agreed, all raised their hands.

He talked of waves of epidemics such as obesity, heart disease and stress and how these were not epidemics of old age, but were hitting people younger than ever before and putting them into the care systems earlier and for many years to come.

“Suffering is a call for change,” he contended. He went on to suggest that the strain that we are seeing at present is unsustainable and will have to lead to fundamental change in the systems that we use to deliver our health and social care.

He invited the audience to think about how we can change the system, to think about the next big idea on how we can alter the way we do things to remove the unacceptable strain on people working in the system.

He appealed for more empathy and enablement in how we deal with and relate to patients and showed evidence to support how models of care delivered in this way led to significant improvement in results for patients.

Dr Reilly also talked about the importance of self-care and how practitioners must look after themselves in order to be in a better position to look after others.

Those in attendance left engaged and full of ideas to take away –100% of those attending found the lecture very good or good, as well as useful for their work. With two more lectures to come this was the best possible start for the programme.

Find out more about the winter lecture series and when the next events take place.