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EAPC Primary Care Reference Group


This group will build on the successful EAPC Taskforce in primary care and develop further resources and support to help individual European countries promote early palliative care in the community delivered by generalists. Our vision is that palliative care is fully integrated in primary care systems internationally so that all patients have early access to a palliative care approach in the community (in their own home and in residential care facilities). Specialist and generalist palliative care are both necessary and complementary and can learn much from each other. The group will present an annual report to the EAPC Board.


 Palliative care still only reaches a minority of people who could benefit from a holistic approach to care as their health declines, and is often not introduced until the terminal stage of their illness. People with multi-morbidities and non-malignant conditions, frailty and dementia are still less likely to receive any form of palliative care than those with cancer. To gain universal coverage, a coordinated primary care and public health approach is necessary 

Aims & Objectives:

1. Promote integration of primary care as an essential element of national palliative care frameworks and palliative care as an essential element of national primary care frameworks. 

2. Promote training and educational development in timely palliative care for all primary care health professionals, at both undergraduate and graduate levels. 

3. Advocate that primary care practitioners providing palliative care have adequate resources and professional support to encourage safe and effective practice, and to promote health equity for people with deteriorating health who are approaching the end of their life. 

4. Provide collegiate support to primary care practitioners as they develop evidence- based approaches to high quality primary palliative care. 

5. Support and develop research opportunities in primary palliative care – across EU countries. 

6. Identify mechanisms to support primary palliative care in all countries, with a specific focus on lower and middle income countries. 

How can I contribute?

If you are passionate about improving palliative care in the community in your country, please contact  our co-ordinator to register as a member of the wider group.  We are also specifically looking for national representatives from every country in Europe, and currently lack these in the following countries:

Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Latvia, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Sweden, Ukraine

If you are willing to consider taking on this role we will discuss what this might entail.

Initial Plans and Progress to date:

Year 1 

1a. Encourage and support Palliative Care and Primary Care leaders in all European countries to promote integrated palliative care in the community using the EAPC Toolkit. 

1b. Identify core competencies in education and training for primary care professionals, in order to enhance access to general palliative care. 

1c. Promote activities/sessions on primary palliative care in all EAPC sponsored conferences and primary care conferences at all levels (including WONCA), 

1d. Participate in the WHO Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to input into manuals to help operationalise palliative care in the community. 

Year 2 

2a. In European countries not involved in the previous Taskforce, identify and support one or more key professional leaders to scope the barriers/facilitators, and then address these using the toolkit framework. 

2b. Expand the toolkit to enhance 1) timely identification, 2) assessment, 3) care planning, 4) evaluation in primary care: produce an updated/ expanded toolkit or guidelines. 

2c. Start international, collaborative small-scale research and student exchange projects including publication of reviews of European developments in peer-reviewed journals. 

Year 3 

3a. Continue 2a 

3b Offer our materials and methods to countries outside Europe to help develop primary palliative care in collaboration with other organisations, as the EAPC is currently the leading international Palliative Care organisation. 

Year 4 

4a. Publish a white paper on promoting primary palliative care in all countries. 

4b. Submission of an EU research or quality improvement proposal. 


Members of Reference Group:

Chairs: Professor Scott A Murray & Dr Sebastien Moine;Coordinators: Ms Marie Lynch & Dr Yvonne Engels, Members:Professor Geoff Mitchell, Professor Julia Downing, Dr Steffen Eychmueller, Dr Xavier Gomez, Dr Jordi Amblas, Dr Kirsty Boyd, Prof Nils Schneider, Mai-Britt Guldin


A close liaison with a variety of International organisations will be maintained: EAPC executive (through Mai-Britt Guldin), EAPC steering group in public health and the WHO (through Xavier), ICPCN and IAHPC (through Julia Downing), WONCA (World Organisation of Family Doctors and the International Primary Palliative Care network (through Scott Murray), European Forum of primary care, (Marie Lynch), European Research networks(through Yvonne Engels) and other national and academic bodies (Geoff Mitchell). 



Professor Scott A. Murray

University of Edinburgh, Scotland

to contact by email please click here

Twitter: @scottamurrayed

Dr Sebastian Moine

Université Paris 13 Nord, Bobigny

to contact by email please click here

Twitter: @s_moine


Ms Marie Lynch

The Irish Hospice Foundation, Dublin

to contact by email please click here 

Twitter: @marie7732

Dr Yvonne Engels

Radboud University Medical Centre, Radboudumc

to contact by email please click here

Twitter: @y_engels

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