Barbara Monroe, Chief Executive Officer, St Christopher’s Hospice, London, UK, sums up David’s contribution to palliative care
David Oliviere, Director of Education and Training, St Christopher’s Hospice, retires in November 2013. David trained at Nottingham University in social administration and social work, with a background in psychiatric social work and management in the personal social services. He was involved in founding Pilgrims Hospice, Canterbury, before joining the North London Hospice as Director of Social Work. Subsequently David worked as an Advisor for ethnic minorities and refugees in Enfield, and then became Macmillan Principal Lecturer in Palliative Care at Middlesex University, whilst practising at the Macmillan Support Team at Barnet Hospital.
In 2001, he became Director of Education and Training at St Christopher’s and was awarded an honorary visiting Professorship at Middlesex. David completely remodelled education at St Christopher’s; trebling the number of courses, creating a number of significant educational partnerships and instigating a range of university- validated programmes including the UK’s first undergraduate and postgraduate courses in childhood bereavement.
David has worked with colleagues to publish and drive forward important agendas on resilience, disadvantaged dying and excluded groups and narratives in end of life care. He has had a long-standing interest in user involvement and has published and taught extensively on the issue as well as facilitating the User Forum at St Christopher’s. David has contributed numerous books, articles and chapters on palliative care and spoken at national and international conferences on family and psychosocial care.
David has been a consummate and generous networker, sharing his talents and skills and working hard to create an international community in palliative care. He pioneered Italian and German days at St Christopher’s and developed our French Conferences to new levels (perhaps helped by having a French wife!), was an EAPC board member and is currently part of the EAPC Task Force on Social Work, developing a core curriculum for social workers in Europe. He has run training courses and spoken at conferences in many countries with a particular emphasis on France and India.
David has three children and seven grandchildren to whom he is devoted. To keep his core social work skills alive he volunteers as a couple counsellor and unbelievably in his spare time he assists with a Benedictine Spirituality Centre! Many will know David as a thoughtful and supportive colleague, the fortunate as a close friend. He has really lived out his ideals for palliative care and I am sure he is not going to retire completely, so we will all continue to benefit from his wisdom, professionalism, integrity and sense of humour.