The hospice movement has always held a strong commitment to education and training: Dame Cicely Saunders believed that education and research should always form one of the cornerstones of hospice care provision

As the needs of our community change, so the Hospice must change to meet those needs. The training and preparation of new and existing volunteer groups helps us to develop and offer new services such as the Hospice Neighbours service.

At St Michael’s Hospice, we have tried from our early days to share our own knowledge, experience and understanding with other professionals and to learn from them in turn. In the early years, education was mostly informal and often undertaken on an ad hoc basis.

Since 1990, we have had a growing service of education for professional staff including nurses, doctors and many other professional disciplines, offered both within the Hospice and in GP Practices, Hospitals, Care Homes and Agencies.

For the past 20 years, we have offered academic modules that practitioners can use as part of degree-level studies as well as in their daily working lives with patients and families.

Increasingly we are aware of the education and training needs of family and informal carers within the community, and are trying to meet these needs in a variety of ways.

St Michael’s Hospice considers supporting individuals who find themselves in the position of carer as crucially important, and we have therefore developed several support groups. Sharing what we learn can only help others, whether they are professional or lay carers, thereby improving the care and support of all in our community, today and in the future.