MORE than 70 healthcare professionals across Dudley borough are now equipped with the skills to ensure more people with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses can spend their final days at home.

Under a new scheme, developed by Macmillan Cancer Support, The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust and Mary Stevens Hospice, the Palliative Care Champions have been trained to deliver the highest standard of end of life care.

Karen Lewis, Macmillan's palliative care educator for Dudley, said: “I have worked in Dudley for the last 20 years, before my role with Macmillan I was a district nurse practice teacher. Unfortunately I lost my mother in 2006 and did not have a good experience, which is what inspired me to take on this role, I really wanted to make a difference to others going through such a difficult time."

She continued: "End of life care in Dudley is delivered by a number of different agencies, health, social care, the voluntary sector and private agencies. I want to ensure they are supported to complete a standard of mandatory training in end of life care, which will mean they feel confident in their skills and that patients will have a better experience and receive an equitable and high standard of care.

"The response so far has been fantastic, to have more than 70 champions already is a great start and I am eager to roll the programme out further.”

Andrew Kenwrick, palliative care clinical educator at Mary Stevens Hospice, added: "We are very hopeful that the programme will have a positive effect on the delivery of care to all who require palliative and end of life care within the Dudley area."