Christmas 2017 message from the EAPC

Phil Larkin, President of the European Association for Palliative Care, writes:                                               

Prof Philip Larkin

Dear Colleagues, Dear Friends,

As I write, I hope that you are at least thinking of taking some time out over the Christmas break, which is rapidly approaching, and planning how to enjoy the season with family and friends. Christmas is not always easy for patients and families, not least because Christmas is expected to be about happy times and fond memories and that may well not be the case for some of those in our care. Many of you will be working over the Christmas holiday to provide the much-needed clinical care and support to patients and families – and in case no-one else says it, thank you. Your work will always make a difference. 

Plans under way for EAPC Berlin 2019 and EAPC Bern 2018

It does not seem that long since our EAPC Congress in Madrid, but we have been busy ever since. Madrid was a great success and we are thankful to all those involved for making this a really memorable Congress. And we are moving on . . . the first Scientific Committee meeting for the 16th EAPC World Congress, which will be in Berlin in 2019, took place this month. The team are putting together an equally innovative and diverse programme to meet the breadth and scope of palliative care. As an international congress, our focus this time is on global palliative care and what messages we can learn from and share with each other about optimizing palliative care for all citizens. There will be some old favourites but some twists and nuances that we hope you will like.

The EAPC Research Network is in full flow, planning for the 10th EAPC World Research Congress on 24 to 26 May in Bern, Switzerland. The scientific committee for this Congress will meet in Bern in January to review progress but the team in Switzerland, led by Professor Steffen Eychmuller, and the scientific co-chairs, Professor Luc Deliens and Professor Per Sjøgren, are bringing together another excellent programme, which will no doubt rival Dublin 2016 – no pressure, gentlemen!

EAPC head office transition

I am now halfway through my term of office and if the last two years were a period of transition, the next two will be very much about consolidation. We have now moved to Belgium and are developing our new systems and structures; our thanks to Julie, Eleanor and Catherine in head office and specific thanks to Paul Vanden Berghe from the Board of Directors. We are now able to plan for the future, taking care not to lose the important elements of EAPC ONLUS in Italy but developing a new EAPC vzw in Belgium. It is not easy moving house, and there will probably be a need to work in tandem with Italy/Belgium for a while longer, but we are moving ahead and that is a positive development for the organisation.

Supporting and recognising achievement in palliative care

I have been particularly busy with travel in recent weeks for EAPC, notably Poland (Bydgoscz, for a winter summit on palliative care in heart failure), and Italy (Rome, to celebrate 30 years of the work of ANTEA). The New Year seems to show me sitting on a plane again fairly soon. What is important is that the presence of EAPC at these meetings is important, not the person (I hasten to add that!) but the fact that EAPC has a role in supporting and recognising achievement that benefits palliative care and the wider community. I have been honoured to represent EAPC at these meetings and will no doubt continue to do so in 2018.

Behind the scenes at EAPC . . .

As I am sure you will appreciate, much of the EAPC work happens in the background and Julie continues to lead the office, managing the day-to-day work and keeping me on track (eg where is the President’s Christmas message?). I also want to thank Eleanor for leading on the membership, administration and finance systems matters. She has made a huge difference in her first year with the EAPC and is also helping to manage our Italy/Belgium transition.

Social Media remains the bedrock of our communication and Avril and the team have been as active as ever. The critical role of social media for palliative care at this time cannot be underestimated. As you may be aware, the Council of Europe is proposing a new report on palliative care in 2018. It is therefore really important that EAPC is visible and the critical issues for palliative care are in the social communication ether so that Council sees a comprehensive and up-to-date set of contemporary issues that frame palliative care in Europe. If you have contributed, commented or engaged with social media this year, thank you; and, of course, a huge vote of thanks to all the EAPC Social Media team for keeping us out there in the real world.

You can learn a lot from donkeys about patience . . .

And a final word about the donkeys …

As you know, we are down to two now and they are being ably managed in their new home by my neighbour whose children are their new best friends. Christmas is a busy time – with a demand for ‘Living Cribs’ with real live animals – so they are cleaned, ears brushed, hooves polished and are putting on weight from all the carrots and apples offered.

You can learn a lot from donkeys about patience, even though they are most known for being stubborn. In English, ‘to be stubborn’ means to be persistent and determined, although we often translate it as obstinate and inflexible.

Persistence and determination are essential attributes of palliative care to make sure the real message of who we are and what we can contribute is made in the right place and the right time. EAPC is getting very good at persistence and determination . . .

And so, on behalf of all at Head Office, I wish you a wonderful Christmas (when it happens as we have different dates in some countries) and very best wishes for 2018. We look forward to seeing you in Bern and to hearing from you in the coming year.


The EAPC Blog is now taking a break until Wednesday, 3 January 2018 when Professor Luc Deliens and Professor Per Sjøgren will unveil the latest information about the 10th EAPC World Research Congress …




This entry was posted in EAPC ACTIVITIES and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Christmas 2017 message from the EAPC

  1. Mary Butler says:

    Lovely Christmas message, Phil. Looking forward to EAPC news/events in 2018 and beyond.

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