In December 1988, the EAPC Board of Directors invited a group of three French founding members to organise its first Congress in France, which was held in October 1990 in Paris. The major aim of this Congress was to obtain the best media coverage possible in order to spread information about the EAPC and palliative care.
The participation of personalities, such as the French President, François Mitterand, the French Minister for Health and Social Affairs, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent, the President of the Conseil National de l'Ordre des Médecins and the Director of the Cancer and Palliative Care Unit of the World Health Organization, gives an idea of its social impact at both a national and European level. The official languages were English and French, for which simultaneous translation was available.
There were 1,630 participants from 23 countries and about 50 journalists were present. During the three days of the Congress, more than 30 French and European journals and magazines published articles about palliative care, and all French television channels and several radio stations reported the event. Sixty-five invited speakers from different countries participated in the Scientific Programme and 105 posters were presented during the Congress by teams from numerous European countries and also from outside Europe.
Distribution of the different professions among the participants was as follows: 815 nurses (50%) and 414 physicians (27%). The other groups were: 105 volunteers, 59 psychologists, 36 social workers, 25 auxiliaries, 25 pastoral counsellors, professional trainers, physiotherapists, chemists, hospital administrators, dietitians and speech therapists. More than half of the participants had never attended a congress of such size, which explains the variety of criticism and suggestions expressed during the three days.
Support and contributions were obtained from the following official organisations and associations: Commission of the European Community, French Ministry of Health, Ligue Française pour la Lutte Contre le Cancer.
The Joint Chairs of the Organising Committee were Professor Maurice Abiven and Dr Michèle Salamagne from France. The Chair of the Scientific Committee was Professor Geoffrey Hanks from the UK