So it happened, the inaugural WMCARES PRIDE event! I have been told my aim (PYA and all) should to be succinct in all I do, (I have insight into my lack of ability to write in very short and concise sentences with the aim to project one’s aim precisely and accurately) therefore what follows is hopefully succinct.

It was quite simply a romp of awesomeness, first off we had the plenery session with Sharon Hudson speak about the rapid rise of Brumyodo a fellow acronymic explosion (Birmingham and ‘You-Only-Die-Once’), the lessons learnt and exciting projects and conversations happening, raising the public profile from a grass roots level. Have a nosey…


Without any respite we rapidly munched into some serious multidisciplinary Haribo Star mix.


I have always wondered how does a CNS in palliative care working in a hospice setting manage DNA- CPR conversations with palliative/end of life patients and their families? And you know what, at that instant Jenny Hadley answers all there could be to know about said topic.

This was followed by ‘End of life prescriptions and wastage in patients’ homes – an audit by Dr Helena Lee (SWBH)’, whereby I felt a little guilty about all the omeprazole I have stockpiled in my house in case I eat another of my mates curries. This guilt however was abated by simply (in my opinion) the game changer of the day.

The St Richard’s Bereavement Cookery Group. Matt Jackson and Kevin Ratcliffe spoke about the most incredibly brilliant bereavement work. I know, as a bloke (grr) with testosterone driven pride and rippling musculature I would find it unspeakably tough to talk to a councillor about those sensations (I have never had) which people call emotions.


Add in a slightly competitive, side by side (not face to face) banterous cooking experience, I am there. Kicking and whipping some apricot suflay.

And this is important! How do we engage these lost to the system blokes. Especially since these folk are the most at risk population for many many psychological issues (including suicide). I encourage you all to take this model and start it everywhere! (and talk to St Richards)

After the coffee break it was time to re-enter the foray with the Registrar trilogy. First up was Dr Maddy Turley demonstrating a working document to aid consistency in guidance led therapeutic decisions for diabetic patients in the hospice setting. Concentrating on day to day practical pragmatic practice rather than getting lost in the Gliptins, SGLT-2 groups, LMPTP inhibitors, (oh my more acronyms) etc, she kept to a single page document. Boom!

Then came the central event, Dr Hazel Coop founder of WMCARES outlined the journey thus far, the present projects and the future to behold (which is green coloured with a kinda splodge where there should be an ‘A’) She handed the baton on to Dr Mike Macfarlane a future leader of the Palliative movement as a whole, but now the lead of WMCARES. He outlined the DNA-CPR project and Electronic future planning projects,  showing us all the incredible output being created.

This lead onto wee ol’ me, explaining my incredible concept of horizontal traffic lights (see above) and levetiracetam. It was a whirl wind of powerpoint, family pictures and some science thrown in.
With many thanks to St Mary’s Hospice who provided the grub for lunch, we perused the posters which simply changed the landscape of research forever (above is Gemma Bennion’s work on GSF at New Cross Hospital).
Invigorated we dived back into our seats for the final trio of the day.
Next up was Maria Kavanagh with; ‘Gateway – a portal to the right care at the right time and place’, we all felt we were definitely in the right place and right time. Up nest was Dr Rebecca Benbow’s Audit of admission process at Compton Hospice Inpatient Unit showed us quantifiable data about what good work we are actually doing, and the (long) time it takes to do an admission.
The final chat of the day was in Compassionate Leadership in Palliative and End of Life Care – A focus group, by Alistair Hewison, which provoked fruity discussion about leadership. (What about followship?)
After the intense shotgun effect of information, the feeling of caffeine waning, all of the full heads in the room were contented, but understandably fatigued. Brimming with ideas for the future everyone agreed the event has instilled a PRIDE in the West Midlands Research and the direction has been charted, course set and sails freed for the coming year.


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