North Tyneside consultant for St Oswald’s Hospice awarded post-doctoral fellowship in palliative care research

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A consultant from North Tyneside is the first person to receive an advanced fellowship in palliative care research from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR).

Dr Felicity Dewhurst, a consultant at North East charity St Oswald’s Hospice, received the national accolade, which is awarded to individuals deemed future leaders of research in their medical fields.

The post-doctoral fellowship will enable Dr Dewhurst to conduct research in partnership with Newcastle University and St Oswald’s while she continues to deliver expert clinical care to hospice patients.

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She is also a senior clinical lecturer at the Population Health Sciences Institute, Newcastle University.

Dr Felicity Dewhurst of St Oswald's Hospice has been awarded the fellowship. (Photo by St Oswald's Hospice)Dr Felicity Dewhurst of St Oswald's Hospice has been awarded the fellowship. (Photo by St Oswald's Hospice)
Dr Felicity Dewhurst of St Oswald's Hospice has been awarded the fellowship. (Photo by St Oswald's Hospice)

Dr Dewhurst said: “Even though palliative care is a universal human right, people with multiple long-term conditions, particularly non-cancer illnesses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure, and dementia, often do not get as good care at the end of life as they could do.

“I want to change this by providing evidence of how palliative care should be provided for this patient group and that good palliative care has the potential to save money by reducing futile treatments and hospital admissions.

“Most importantly, I want to help provide better experiences for patients and their families.”

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Dr Dewhurst will also look at evidence supporting the multidisciplinary approach for those with multiple long-term conditions, specifically the incorporation of care from professionals such as occupational therapists and physiotherapists.

This approach has already proved beneficial at St Oswald’s Hospice thanks to the launch of its Combined Supportive Care Service, a partnership between the hospice and Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Dewhurst said: “I hope my research will help support the expansion of the care we provide at St Oswald’s Hospice.

“For example, the clinic we currently provide care for people with lung cancer and frailty could be expanded to other tumour groups, patients with non-cancer diagnoses, and, importantly, those with multiple long-term conditions.”

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Steph Edusei, chief executive of St Oswald’s Hospice, added: “The team could not be prouder of Dr Dewhurst being given this distinguished advanced fellowship.

“It is a credit to Dr Dewhurst’s hard work and commitment to improving palliative care for her patients, and her support of the multidisciplinary team who work alongside her.”