The patient council at Ilkley’s largest GP practice hosted an open evening on local palliative care resources as it marks its tenth anniversary this year.

The Ilkley Moor Medical Practice patient council invited a GP and a Marie Curie nurse to speak at the evening last Wednesday, focusing on a subject often difficult to bring into the open.

Hosted by patient council chairman Brian Sayer, the evening featured presentations from Karen Sinclair, the Marie Curie specialist palliative nurse for the Wharfe Valley, and Dr Helena Rolfe, GP partner at Ilkley Moor Medical Practice.

Karen Sinclair took the theme of the role of palliative care in improving the quality of life for patients with incurable, progressive disease, illustrating the team approach to modern-day palliative care in the area.

She highlighted the roles of the various professionals – including physicians, pharmacists, nurses, chaplains, social workers, psychologists and many other allied health professionals – who make up the teams, and the roles covered by each, ranging from medical through emotional and financial support – all of which have a part to play in enhancing the lives of patients and their families and carers.

Dr Rolfe gave attendees a brief overview of the many people and systems in place to enhance the care given by all health professionals in this sensitive area.

Both speakers emphasised the importance of formulating a plan of care with the patient and their relatives so that all those involved were fully aware of the patient’s wishes. Communication of these wishes also plays a vital part and Dr Rolfe was able to explain how information was disseminated between the different specialities.

A personal view of the subject from a patient who had been a carer for her husband was warmly received, and questions from the floor elicited further information from the speakers and from the audience participants.

The Ilkley Moor Medical Practice patient council celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2013, which in itself is a milestone among general practice patient groups in the Wharfe Valley.

Mr Sayer announced two forthcoming open evenings later this year and early in 2014. The first of these will deal with musculo-skeletal issues and the other with services available for the elderly in the Wharfe Valley.

For more details, contact the surgery.