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28 March 2024

King's hosts inaugural meeting for new NIHR Policy Research Unit

Members from five universities met at the Cicely Saunders Institute in January to celebrate the start of the NIHR Policy Research Unit in Palliative and End of Life Care.

NIHR PRU palliative care end of life members

A world-leading, expert team including researchers and public partners from five universities came together for the inaugural meeting of the newly established NIHR Policy Research Unit (PRU) in Palliative and End of Life Care.

Established on 1 January, led by King’s College London and co-led by the University of Hull, this NIHR Policy Research Unit will support policy makers to improve care, and reduce inequalities, for children and adults affected by life-limiting illnesses, and their families and carers, including into bereavement.

Over 20 PRU members from King’s, as well as partner universities including the University of Hull, Lancaster University, University of Leeds, and University of Cambridge attended the inaugural meeting at King’s on 25 January.

During the meeting, participants discussed the priorities and opportunities for this PRU Unit in supporting policymakers to improve care for people affected by life-limiting illnesses and their families/carers, and opportunities to involve patients and the public to inform research.

Director of the Policy Research Unit, Professor Katherine Sleeman said: “Palliative care delivers value for the health and care system through improving quality of life for children and adults living with life-limiting illness and reducing reliance on emergency care. Through bringing together inter-disciplinary researchers with diverse expertise, strong track records, and capacity and agility to respond to policy needs, our Policy Research Unit has the potential to contribute to some of the most pressing concerns facing the health and social care system. We are looking forward to building engagement, dialogue, and dissemination tailored to audiences who make, influence, and implement policy in palliative and end of life care.”

The Policy Research Unit is currently working on three core research projects. These are focused on minoritized ethnic groups (led by Lancaster University), district and community nursing (led by the University of Hull) and the links between primary and secondary care for people approaching the end of life (led by King’s College London).

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Image of Katherine Sleeman

Laing Galazka Chair in Palliative Care, Honorary Consultant in Palliative Medicine