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Palliative care series: an overview
  1. Tara Whitburn1,
  2. Lucy Ellen Selman1,2
  1. 1King's College London, Cicely Saunders Institute, Department of Palliative Care, Policy and Rehabilitation, London, UK
  2. 2Bristol Randomised Trials Collaboration, School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol
  1. Correspondence to Dr Tara Whitburn, Department of Palliative Care, Policy and Rehabilitation, Cicely Saunders Institute, King's College London, Bessemer Road, London Se59PJ, UK; tara.whitburn{at}

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“The only certainty is that every one of us will die. Nothing else in healthcare in the UK applies to 100% of our population.” So stated Baroness Professor Finlay of Llandaff when she introduced the Access to Palliative Care Bill in the House of Lords.1 This was an apt reminder of the importance of good end-of-life care for every dying person and their loved ones, no matter where they die or which healthcare professionals are caring for them at the end of their life.

Palliative care is defined by the WHO2 as ‘an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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