Western Mail Series – Wales leading the world

Two of the Society’s Fellows have recently contributed articles to the Western Mail and WalesOnline, outlining the impact of aspects of their research and work.

Professor Jonathan Shepherd’s article considers the impact of the Cardiff Model for Violence Prevention is changing the way violence is tackled around the world:

As a surgeon who treats people injured in assaults and accidents, the biggest surprise from my research was that the police didn’t know about two thirds of violent incidents which put people in hospital.

This is because injured people often don’t report these offences. This startling discovery prompted the now historic meeting in Cardiff in July 1997 of police, local authority and accident and emergency colleagues to pool anonymised information about where and when violence was happening.

Baroness Ilora Finlay’s article reflects on how Wales became a world leader in caring for the terminally ill and their families, and how practitioners from around the globe to study palliative medicine in Cardiff.

It seems unbelievable that 40 years ago there were no specialist palliative care teams in Wales. People died in hospitals, often without having open conversations about their illness and with staff speaking in hushed tones. Pain relief was poorly understood.

Then in 1980 all that began to change. The community hospice service George Thomas Hospice Care (now City Hospice) was started by the Little Company of Mary and a few years later Holme Tower Nursing Home in Penarth closed its doors, to reopen in 1987 as the Marie Curie Hospice, with 38 beds, day care and a home care team service for Cardiff and the Vale and beyond.

My own appointment as the first consultant in Wales in “terminal care” carried with it a responsibility to teach others. Only through education and training were standards going to be driven up in the care of dying patients across Wales.

The series will continue in 2018 and will consider the future of legal education in Wales, the European Science Advice Mechanism (SAM), and developing the study of Wales.