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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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New role to support care at the end of life

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Oxford University Hospitals has appointed its first Consultant Pharmacist for palliative and end of life care, only the third post of its kind in the UK.

Gwen Klepping has worked for the Trust for 13 years mainly as a specialist palliative care pharmacist based at Sobell House and Katharine House hospices.

End of life care has been identified as a Trust priority, with a new strategy having been written. Sobell House Hospice Charity, working closely with OUH, has granted resources to fund a two-year project to improve end of life care across our four hospitals.

"My appointment ties in with that," Gwen explains. "I’ll be working with other health partners across Oxfordshire and all parts of the Trust, as well as providing specialist support to the hospices.

"We need to make sure we are providing the best end of life care, which patients and their relatives have a right to expect. End of life care is everybody's business and we have to do it well."

A big part of the end of life care project will relate to training and education of anyone - doctors, nurses, pharmacists - who has interaction with patients.

A key part of Gwen's role is ensuring that patients are identified and given the right care: "Much of the care of these patients is about managing their symptoms at the end of life and ensuring that it's appropriate, for example, making sure that the right combination of drugs is available for that patient and administered in the right way."