Professor Josep Porta-Sales

I am delighted to have the opportunity to introduce myself to my EAPC colleagues. I was born on Christmas Day in 1957 in Lleida: the city that hosted the World Research Congress of the EAPC in 2014.

I’m an internal medicine specialist, and in 1986 my mentor, Dr Francesc Ferrer Ruscalleda, suggested that I should get information about hospices. I shall be eternally indebted to Dame Cicely Saunders and Dr Mary Baines, among others, from St Christopher’s Hospice in London, who opened the doors of a new world to me. The impression was so strong and engaging that I decided that when I returned to Spain I would contribute by disseminating the experiences I had gained in London. During my stay in London I had met Dr Xavier Gómez-Batiste, a colleague and friend with whom I had the privilege to start developing palliative care in Catalonia and Spain. Fortunately, and very quickly, other Spanish colleagues joined this pioneering party. In the past 30 years, I have worked in many hospitals, and in different posts, always as a full-time palliative care physician. I completed my PhD dissertation in 1996 and did a Master’s in bioethics in 1998.

My professional interests are related to research, teaching and organisation, but always clinical practice-based. As a researcher, I’m interested in cancer pain, and also in ethics, specifically in palliative sedation, having participated, among other contributions, in the EAPC Task Force on Euthanasia and Physician-assisted Suicide. More recently, I have become interested in the 'Wish to Hasten Death'. Linked to my research interests, I was the first Editor-in-Chief of the first journal in Spanish devoted to palliative care: Medicina Paliativa, and I am a member of the editorial boards of Palliative Medicine and the BMJ Support & Palliative Care.

Currently, I am semi-retired but still working as Head of the Service of Support and Palliative Care at the Catalan Institute of Onclogy, Girona branch, and also as Director of the ‘WeCare End of Life Care Chair’ at the ‘Universitat Internacional de Catalunya’. Recently, I had the opportunity to work on closer collaboration between palliative care and haematology.

In 2015, I had the privilege to be elected as a member of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) Board of Directors. The work in these past four years has been very interesting and, from my point of view, fruitful. I had the opportunity to work with other board colleagues in the membership subgroup preparing our association for further and challenging innovations.

If I am fortunate enough to be re-elected to the EAPC board for the next term, 2019-23, I would hope to make a positive contribution in building bridges between palliative care and haematology, and continue to collaborate in upgrading EAPC.