News archive 2009
Palliative Care receives WHO status16 Jan 2009, PR 09/09
The King’s College London Department of Palliative Care, Policy and Rehabilitation has recently been awarded World Health Organisation (WHO) accreditation and has been named a WHO Collaborating Centre for its research, education and clinical care development in palliative care.
The WHO collaborating centres are institutions such as research institutes, parts of universities, academies and clinical groups, which are designated by the Director-General to carry out activities in support of the Organization's programmes.
Currently there are over 900 WHO collaborating centres worldwide working with WHO on areas such as nursing, occupational health, communicable diseases, nutrition, mental health, chronic diseases and health technologies.
Professor Irene Higginson, Director of the Cicely Saunders Institute and Head of the Department of Palliative Care expressed her delight at the award. 'It is a tribute to all the very hard work of my entire department in winning this important accolade. Over recent years we have been working with the World Health Organisation in Europe on projects to help palliative care develop. They have used our research evidence and needs assessments, and we have developed guidance to help governments and clinicians develop palliative care services'.
The College also has two other WHO Collaborating Centres, including the Centre for Research & Training in Mental Health, based at the Institute of Psychiatry, run by Professor Rachel Jenkins, and the Centre for Oral Cancer/Precancer, run by Professor Saman Warnakulasuriya at the Dental Institute.
The Department of Palliative Care will shortly move into the new Cicely Saunders Institute, a world first in palliative care bringing together academic research, education and care under one roof. In February this year the Prime Minister Gordon Brown performed the ground breaking ceremony, and the Institute is set for completion in November this year.
It will enable leading researchers to work alongside each other in a purpose built building and deliver high quality palliative care solutions, providing education and patient information and support to patients with conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, end-stage renal disease, heart failure, COPD, as well as cancer. Importantly support for families and caregivers will be provided too.
The Cicely Saunders Institute is based at the Denmark Hill Campus of the College and will build upon the internationally recognised reputation of the Department of Palliative Care in collaboration with Cicely Saunders International. Cicely Saunders International, a pioneering charity, was set up in 2002 by Dame Cicely Saunders, the founder of modern palliative care to improve palliative and end of life care through research and training, for people wherever they are cared for.
In order to be considered for designation as a WHO Collaborating Centre, eligible institutions must satisfy the WHO assessors that they meet strict criteria which include; a prominent place of the institution in the country’s health, scientific or educational structures, a strong working relationship with other institutions in the country.
As well as at the intercountry, regional and global levels and clear technical and geographical relevance of the institution and its activities to WHO’s programme priorities, the integration of research, education and practice within the group in palliative care is also contributing to the development of the King’s Academic Health Sciences Centre, where palliative care will play an important role.
Notes to editors
King’s College London
King’s College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (Times Higher Education 2008) and the fourth oldest in England. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King’s has 19,700 students from more than 150 countries, and 5,400 employees. King’s has an outstanding reputation for providing world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise for British universities, 60 per cent of research activity at King’s was deemed world-leading or internationally excellent. The College is in the top group of UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of approximately £450 million. An investment of £500 million has been made in the redevelopment of its estate.
King’s has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, social sciences, the health sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA. It is the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe and is home to more Medical Research Council Centres than any other university.
King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas', King's College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts are working together to create King’s Health Partners - a world-leading Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC).
King’s Health Partners brings together an unrivalled range and depth of clinical and research expertise, spanning both physical and mental health. Our combined strengths will drive improvements in care for patients, allowing them to benefit from breakthroughs in medical science and receive leading edge treatment at the earliest possible opportunity. For more information, visit www.londonsahsc.org
Kate Moore, Public Relations Officer (Health Schools)
Public Relations Department
Tel: 020 7848 4334
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