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World hospice & palliative care day

Messages of Support

We welcome messages of support for this unified day of action and hospice and palliative care around the world. Please contact info@thewpca.org or call +44(0) 20 7520 8200 if you would like to add your message of support to the website.

Ian Maddocks AM: Senior Australian of the Year 2013, Emeritus Professor of Palliative Care, Flinders University of South Australia

Palliative Care is Everyone’s Business. This is a powerful message for World Hospice and Palliative Care Day. The inevitability of death for each person on earth, and the common lack of care or expertise that so often makes it not only sad, but grievously uncomfortable, demands worldwide awareness and action. 

This highly regarded discipline started small, with charitable intent and funding; now it is a central component of good health care, bringing effective and comprehensive relief to the discomforts of terminal illness of all kinds.
Sadly, however, it is very patchy in its availability and distribution. On this day, therefore, we look for renewed efforts to bring its compassion and expertise to every institution, home and bedside where it can relieve pain and discomfort with compassionate care. 

John Beard

John Beard: Director of the Ageing and Life Course department at the World Health Organization

The main focus of health services is generally on preventing, curing or managing disease.  But one of the things that is often neglected is providing quality care at the end of life.  Millions of people today die in needless suffering simply because they are denied access to appropriate pain relief and social support.  This care is not expensive, and everyone has a right to it.

Mary Robinson, President, Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative, former President of Ireland.

Being able to access quality end-of-life care including hospice and palliative care is a basic human right.  The fact that so many of the world’s population are denied this right at such a vulnerable time in their lives is an affront to all of us.   

It is unacceptable that an individual’s last months or hours of life are unnecessarily difficult when hospice care would allow that mother or father, son or daughter to live comfortably until the end. 

We must intensify our efforts to listen to the needs of the dying and to put in place hospice care services that respond sensitively and appropriately to their needs. 

 Gabriel Byrne, Actor

"Hospice and palliative care involves the total care of patients and their families at the stage in a serious illness where the focus has switched from treatment aimed at cure to ensuring quality of life. 

It addresses the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the patient and their family. 

Every man, woman and child who is living with a life-limiting illness has the right to high quality hospice and palliative care to enable them to live with dignity. 

But every year, millions of people around the world experience unnecessary pain and distress.  They are either unaware of or unable to access the care they need. 

This must change.

I would appeal to the public to support their local hospice service.

I would urge politicians and policy makers to invest in hospice/palliative care and ensure this vital service is made available to everyone – irrespective of who they are, their means, their diagnosis or where they live.

No-one in our world today should die in pain or distress." 

Paul Hunt, former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to the highest attainable standard of health

"Palliative care includes pain relief for the terminally ill. Every year, millions suffer horrific, avoidable pain. Very few have access to pain relieving drugs. As always, those in the developing world suffer much more than those in the developed world. Six countries account for 79% of medical morphine consumption. But this is not just a problem of development. Lack of access to pain relieving drugs is partly due to regulatory barriers. Regulations aim to protect populations from drug dependence. But these regulations do not always strike the right balance between this legitimate aim and genuine medical needs. In short, palliative care needs greater attention. Many HIV/AIDS strategies, for example, neglect this critical issue.

11 October 2008 is the World Hospice and Palliative Care Day. This year, the theme is ‘Palliative Care is a Human Right’. I urge you to give this issue – and this Day – the attention it richly deserves."

Dame Judi Dench

"Everyone should have the right to hospice care....Help us to make it happen.”

Archbishop Tutu

 “The prospect of facing a terminal illness and all the physical and emotional suffering that it entails is daunting for anyone. No one should have to face that without any support to relieve their symptoms and pain, calm their anxiety and help them and their family to cope with the situation. But that is the exact situation for millions of people around the world who are living with a terminal illness without any access to hospice and palliative care. There are many countries in the world where hospice and palliative care services barely even exist at all. I urge individuals and governments to take action to change this situation and stop this unbearable suffering.”

Bono from Irish rock band, U2

“In life, you try your best to hold on tight to your dignity, in death sometimes others have to hold onto it for you. The premise of hospice care is very close to the bone for me. The hospice was available to look after my father before he died of cancer.

These people are kind of angels. They escort you to the door of your death; they are the midwives for delivery into your next life. The comfort and relief they provide is exponential, it spills over to family, friends, colleagues. It’s a blessing that everyone should be able to receive.

In the poorest countries, where so many people are fighting for their lives, the conditions of death don’t get much of a look in. But how we care for the sick and dying is surely a litmus test of our humanity. Just as we fight for equality in life, we should fight for equality in death.”

Sir Elton John

“Access to the best quality care, when facing terminal illness, is a human right, but it is a right that many people, in almost every country, are denied. We need to let governments know that this is unacceptable. Please join me in this initiative and make your voice heard.”
Target Ovarian Cancer - For every woman. For life.

Messages of Support for World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2009


Target Ovarian Cancer supports World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2009


Target Ovarian Cancer a UK based charity which represents women and professionals living and working with ovarian cancer would like to send our unconditional support to World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2009 “Discovering your voice”.  We know through the experiences of the women and families we work with that the hospice and palliative care specialists make a vital contribution to quality of life.
The Target Ovarian Cancer Pathfinder Study reveals that sadly in the UK access to palliative care services is still unpredictable and integration between palliative care teams and mainstream medical teams is very mixed.  This is not an acceptable situation for women and their families.  We hope the voices of women that contributed to our study can be heard across the world as we recognise that hospice and palliative care experts are essential to enable women with ovarian cancer to both live and die with dignity.

Messages of Support from previous World Hospice and Palliative Care Days

Archbishop Tutu said he supported World Hospice and Palliative Dare day with Voices for Hospices

I am delighted to give my backing to the first World Hospice and Palliative Care Day with Voices for Hospices, which will take place on 8 October 2005. This day is an important global event, a unified day of action to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care around the world. Every year, millions of people around the world living with a terminal illness suffer unnecessary pain and distress, either unaware of or unable to access the care they need. Good quality hospice and palliative care which aims to meet the needs of the whole person can and does affect provide an answer. This is an issue that affects literally everybody on this planet - we would all like our lives - and the lives of those we love to end peacefully and comfortably. The organisers expect that support for World Hospice and Palliative Care Day will result in it becoming an annual calendar event. I would urge you to get involved and pledge your support now to World Hospice and Palliative Care Day on 8 October 2005.

World Health Organization message supporting World Hospice and Palliative Care Day

Based on WHO's definition, palliative care is not only end of life care but starts from the time a life-threatening illness is diagnosed and should be offered alongside treatment. It becomes invaluable for patients and their families who are in need of physical, psychosocial, and spiritual support so they are able to cope and manage the disease. Every human being is entitled to adequate care and no one should suffer unnecessarily. Unfortunately too many people still suffer because drugs, particularly opioids to relieve their pain are unavailable or because they have no access to adequate care.

WHO recommends that all countries develop comprehensive palliative care policies and programmes with a public health approach that includes symptom management, psychosocial and spiritual support for patients and their caregivers, that is integrated into the existing health system. WHO also recognizes that palliative care programmes must be tailored to each country's resources and existing health care infrastructures, since there are wide variations in cultural attitudes towards palliative care and availability of resources. The provision of home-based care by trained and adequately supervised family or community caregivers, particularly in poor resource settings, can be the best way to provide palliative care for the majority of patients who require it.

John Bowis, Member of the European Parliament and former UK Health Minister said

It is time for palliative care to take its place on the agenda for European health policy - both across the EU and in policies for Developing Countries and for the new neighbours in Eastern Europe. In the European Parliament, we have already raised the profile and the Commission door is open to ideas.

Gareth R. Thomas MP - Minister leading on HIV and AIDS Policy Work, Department for International Development, UK

I am delighted to give my backing to the first World Hospice and Palliative Care Day taking place on 8 October 2005. This day is an important way to raise awareness and understanding of the value of hospice and palliative care as well as a chance to raise vital funds for services worldwide.

I have seen first hand the importance of palliative care in tackling AIDS in the developing world. In May I visited South Africa, and I was taken to a project in a township run by the Anglican Church. I met some remarkable women who are supporting the township to deal with the impact of AIDS. They support orphans and families who've lost loved ones and provide nursing services and care for the dying. They took me to one home, a corrugated iron hut just off the main road to meet a woman who had acquired HIV from her husband who had already died. She was so sick it took her a huge effort just to sit upright in bed. It was clear that, like many women, she had to cope with her own illness and grief while also shouldering the huge challenge of caring for loved ones with terribly limited resources. This woman relied heavily on the support of the other women in the community who visited her and provided care and support throughout the illness.

With the devastating impact of disease in many countries including HIV and AIDS, there is an urgent need for low cost, high quality palliative care that is flexible, appropriate and accessible to all. This is an issue for all societies, all governments and all people. I would urge you to get involved and pledge your support now to World Hospice and Palliative Care Day on 8 October 2005.

Balfour M. Mount OC OQ MD FRCSC Eric M. Flanders Professor of Palliative Medicine, McGill University

Over the past four decades the seed of compassion sewn by Dr. Cicely Saunders in Southeast London with the opening of St. Christopher's Hospice has borne rich fruit in programs around the world. Lessons learned in easing end-of-life suffering due to malignant and progressive neurological diseases have been applied in an increasing array of acute and chronic illness settings. The result has been a deeper understanding of the determinants of suffering and the potential of whole person care. So much has been accomplished! So much remains to be done! On October 8th, as we celebrate World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, let us open our hearts to the cries of those whose ongoing suffering we now have the knowledge and resources to address and find the personal and political resolve to change all of that.

The International Union Against Cancer (UICC)

Which represents close to 270 member organisations including research and treatment centers, voluntary cancer leagues and patient associations in 90 countries are pleased to support this worldwide campaign. Collaboration and partnerships are important to advance this important cause and to help develop standards and infrastractures where these are lacking. UICC is committed to furthering palliative care and patient information and support services and to promoting these within the context of national cancer control strategic efforts worldwide.

We join this campaign as an important means of raising public awareness to the benefit of cancer patients and their families worldwide.

The British Pain Society would like to voice its support for the World Hospice and Palliative Care Day on 8 October 2005.

The British Pain Society is the representative body for all professionals involved in the management and understanding of pain in the United Kingdom. The Society aims to achieve the highest possible standards in the management of pain through education, training and research in all fields of pain and by facilitating the exchange of information and experience. Many of its members also work in palliative care and advise about the management of severe pain in terminal illness, whether the pain is from cancer or from non-malignant disease. The Society recognises the suffering of people around the world where the medicinal use of morphine and other opiate analgesics is often woefully inadequate. It also strongly supports the special needs of children and the elderly in respect of pain management.

The World Hospice and Palliative Care Day on 8 October will highlight the need for good pain management to extend beyond the developed world and will emphasise the teaching that is necessary for all professionals, the recognition of pain and the promotion of the concepts of pain relief so simply and aptly explained by the late Dame Cicely Saunders.

Dr Joan Hester President Elect, British Pain Society

Pat Cox – the former President of the European Parliament

“World Hospice Day offers an opportunity to highlight issues of importance to the development of hospice care, especially in poorer regions. We need to create a context in which dying, death and bereavement can be developed as a matter of public concern and where the concept of ‘a good death’ is a valid aspect of social and public policy.”

Royal College of Nursing statement in support of World Hospice & Palliative Care Day

Royal College of Nursing President Sylvia Denton said: "The Royal College of Nursing is delighted to support World Hospice and Palliative Care Day. Nurses are the key workers and leaders in the delivery and development of palliative care services. Effective,compassionate palliative care is a fundamental of nursing and the RCN, whose palliative nursing forum has more than 8000 members, is pleased to contribute to this work."

Kim and Aggie, How Clean is Your House? UK

"It is a shocking fact that every year, millions of people around the world living with terminal illnesses, experience unnecessary pain and distress.

Hospice care helps people live as comfortably as possible with their illness and supports their families and friends in caring for them.

We believe that if a job?s worth doing, it?s worth doing well - surely this is one of the most important jobs there is. We wish the first World Hospice and Palliative Care Day the greatest success and hope it will encourage governments and individuals to do more to make hospice care a priority."