Every year we present an award to celebrate the vision of our founder, Prue Dufour, who established Dorothy House in her family home at 162 Bloomfield Rd in Bath in 1976.
Inspired by the work of Dame Cicely Saunders, Prue’s vision was to improve the care of terminally ill people through effective palliative and end of life care so that no-one should die alone. With Dorothy House, she sought to provide nursing care and counselling in the homes of patients and their families along with a respite centre for day care and inpatient beds for short stays.
The Prue Dufour Lifetime Achievement Award is a special award to acknowledge outstanding service to Dorothy House. Each year the award is presented to an exceptional individual who has given dedicated service, without thought for themselves and for the good of our organisation, in the manner of Prue Dufour.
This year the award recipient is Dr Patricia Needham MB BS FRCP.
Dr Needham, better known to her colleagues as Tricia, joined Dorothy House from St Joseph’s Hospice; Hackney as a Senior Registrar in Palliative Care in 1993. A graduate of St George’s Hospital Medical School, she was awarded the Lee Prize in Family Medicine. In 1995 she became a Consultant in palliative medicine before succeeding Dr Chris Higgs to become our Medical Director and Caldicott Guardian in 2011.
She has produced a number of published and peer review works and received a Clinical Excellence award in 2008. She is an Honorary Visiting Consultant at the Royal United Hospital Bath and a member of the European Association of Palliative Care as well as being an examiner of medical students of Oncology and Palliative Care.
In recognition of her work in developing Palliative Care in the district, Bath and West Community NHS Trust and her input in developing the services with St Martins Community Hospital she became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 1999. She has also presented at numerous national and international conferences on all aspects of end of life care.
Since joining us in 1993, Tricia has been at the heart of our service development. Her quiet determination to hold fast to the principles that Prue Dufour laid down of compassion, spirituality, care, diversity and innovation is at the centre of all she does. Her commitment to our patients, families and carers has been an example to others as her guidance and counsel is always delivered with compassionate gravitas.
Like Prue before her, Tricia is a passionate advocate of education and research, and sharing Palliative Care knowledge within and beyond the UK.
Over the last ten years, Tricia has visited Moldova twice to lecture and three years ago she visited Japan where she co-led a two-day conference on Palliative and End of Life Care. Whilst there, she also visited several hospitals and fledgling hospices and co-published an article in the National Journal of Palliative Care.
Tricia’s unassuming presence and her attention to the smallest details continues to improve patient and family care and her extensive experience and deep palliative knowledge continues to influence patients’ respective journeys.
Tricia is at the heart of our campaign to deliver an organisation that is about far more than cancer. For example, by identifying a real issue with early intervention for Motor Neurone Disease patients, Tricia, in partnership with Marie-Suzanne Magee (Dorothy House Nurse Specialist), the Motor Neurone Disease Association, and the RUH, developed a new post that bridges the gap between the community and acute Trust. Her innovative approach to this patient pathway has led to powerful care where in partnership with local GPs and district nurses, patients with MND have been supported in their choice to have invasive medical care withdrawn and been allowed to die a natural death surrounded by their family.
Such intervention is bold, courageous and innovative, placing patient care at the centre of what we do.
This award recognises Tricia’s significant contribution to building the Hospice’s reputation for outstanding end of life care, a reputation reinforced by our ‘Outstanding’ rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in 2017.
Many congratulations Tricia and our sincere thanks for your ongoing commitment to Dorothy House.