The Cornwall Hospice Care team developed a project, collaborating with many other healthcare teams throughout the county, to develop and roll out consistent symptom management for patients with incurable illnesses, whatever their diagnosis. The team have trained nearly a thousand people working in a range of care settings, to provide good symptom control to those who are dying. This has included hospital consultants, specialist nurses, ambulance crews, ward staff in community and acute hospitals, and those working in dementia units and nursing homes.

The charity also led a project to teach others to provide the training, using new ways of working and proving a lot can be achieved with a small pot of money. Formal feedback from participants showed it improved their knowledge and confidence around caring for patients with advanced illnesses.    

All this was underpinned by the charity’s 24-hours-a-day/7-days-a-week advice line, which supports a wide range of health care professionals including those who have received training from the team. With such immediate support it means patients who are dying are given the right care at the right time and in the right place, whether that be at home, in hospital, in the hospice, a secure dementia unit or nursing home. 

Although a one-year project, the team also devised a project to enable sustainability of the Anticipatory Prescribing Guidance, which remains embedded in all healthcare organisations. They also presented the work at the annual conference of the European Association of Palliative Care in Dublin.

Dr Debbie Stevens is the Medical Director at Cornwall Hospice Care, “Being shortlisted for the final of these awards is a huge achievement for the team from our charity. The competition is always high and I’m delighted that the work we have been doing has attracted such recognition. I’m very proud that we have got this far, anything else will be a bonus.”  

Paul Brinsley, Chief Executive of Cornwall Hospice Care, says the recognition is well deserved, “It goes to show the standards of care we are helping to set for patients at the end of their lives. Education is at the heart of what we do and this is an accolade to the professionalism within our team. I’m very proud of everyone involved and of the work we are doing in Cornwall and for Cornwall.”  

The final of the BMJ Awards will be held in London in May. To find out more visit

The attached picture shows (from left to right) Angela Carey (Community Specialist Palliative Care Nurse), Dr Jane Gibbins, Sarah Gear, Saul Ridley (Community Specialist Palliative Care Nurse), Dr Debbie Stevens, Dr Kirsty Scott and Maria Earl (GP Facilitator).