Helena Davies is a 56-year-old with complex chronic health problems that are the cause of considerable disability including chronic pain and fatigue, impaired mobility so that she has to use a powered wheelchair, and very poor immunity making her at high risk of serious infection.
In addition to her other health problems, Helena had treatment for breast cancer in 2009/2010. Prior to her retirement due to ill-health in 2007, she was a consultant paediatrician in Sheffield with a particular interest in medical education and the long-term effects of treatment for survivors of childhood cancer.
Helena has been lucky enough to be the recipient of high-quality palliative care herself for an extended period (currently about 9 years) illustrating the critical point that palliative care is not just about end of life care.
Her palliative care team has provided both physical and emotional/psychological input which has enabled her to achieve a quality of life that would be impossible without their support.
For example, at times when chronic pain has been so severe as to make life almost unbearable the palliative care team has provided treatment that significantly modified that pain enabling a reasonable quality of life to be restored.
She believes that access to palliative care is a basic human right that should be part of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and is committed to advocating for this both nationally and at a global level where palliative care provision is highly variable and the provision of simple, cheap medications such as opiates for pain relief could make an enormous difference to people's lives. Helena feels passionate about the importance of palliative care both within the UK and globally. We are extremely pleased to have her on the WHPCA board as trustee living with palliative care needs.