Our 15 year partnership with Maastricht University

The UK palliative care system is viewed by many nations as being significantly advanced; indeed, hospice care as we know it has its origins in Dame Cicely Saunders, Founder of the modern hospice movement. As a result, medical staff from other countries look to industry professionals in Britain for expert opinions, innovations and research in the field. For this reason, Woking Hospice is seen as an attractive place for GP Trainees from Maastricht University, the Netherlands, to visit for work experience. Woking Hospice welcomed its first GP registrars from the country in 2001 and has been accepting regular visitors from there ever since.

Every three months, GP Trainees who have chosen the Surrey based hospice as their elective out of a number of different options, both at home and abroad, arrive here to undertake a six week placement scheme. They stay with a family and work alongside teams at the hospice, playing an integral part in the care of patients for the duration of their time here. The aim is to take what they have learnt back to their practices in the Netherlands as well as endeavour to bring their ideas and experience to the clinical team in England.

Stephan Widjaja is the latest Doctor to have visited the Hospice and gave very positive feedback, saying before he left: “at Maastricht University, we are really blessed to have Woking Hospices on our list of electives for work experience; it’s quite unique. I am learning so much, I could stay another six weeks! Everyone works as a team and communicates to each other. I get to know so much about my patients because my colleagues take time to learn about them as individuals; it was a lot to take in at first but now I am getting the hang of it. Some of my peers on the course have either been here already or are due to come to the UK soon. I hope this scheme continues as it’s a really excellent opportunity and I am going to take a lot of what I learnt back with me to the Netherlands.”

 Fiona Bailey, outgoing Medical Director at the hospices explains the benefits for the organisation: “Hearing about how end of life care is approached in a different country broadens your horizons and opens your mind to new ways of thinking. It is also great to work with enthusiastic GPs who are willing to present different ideas and engage with everyone. It is wonderful to know that we in England are having an impact on how people near the end of their lives are cared for in another country”

To read the full interviews, click here.