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Dr Keri Thomas appointed an OBE in New Year's Honours
Dr Keri Thomas, who founded the UK’s largest provider of end-of-life-care training, is credited with improving the lives of a million people.
She set up the Shrewsbury-based Gold Standards Framework, which lays down nationally recognised standards for organisations which provide care for people approaching the end of their lives.
Dr Thomas said she was delighted to be given the honour for services to end-of-life care.
“It’s a wonderful honour, I haven’t really taken it in yet,” she said.
“I hope it will raise awareness of what we do.”
Dr Thomas was working as a GP when she became unhappy about how the NHS treated people in their last few months.
She formed the not-for-profit Gold Standards Framework 17 years ago, which set down a series of criteria for end-of-life care, and delivered training courses for both NHS and social care staff.
Dr Thomas, who is 60, is also an honorary professor in end of life care at Birmingham University, and has written books on the subject.
Chief executive of Care England, Professor Martin Green, said: “Keri Thomas is one of the most influential figures in palliative care and, through her development of the Gold Standards Framework, she transformed end-of-life care in many care homes, hospitals, and primary care services.
“The passion and commitment shown by Dr Thomas over many years, as a clinician, thought leader and champion of palliative care, has made a real difference to countless lives, and she is truly deserving of this honour. ”
Gold Standards Framework is based in St Austin Friars, Shrewsbury, and teaches GPs, care homes and hospital staff how to identify people approaching the final months of life, engage them in conversations about their wishes and preferences and then plan and manage their care on that basis.
It is responsible for training in about 2,500 care homes and 84 hospitals around Britain, and lays down nationally recognised standards of good practice.
It also provides training in countries as far afield as Australia, Canada and Japan, and has been approached about improving end-of-life care services in China, where 119 million people are over the age of 65.
Anne Keating, managing director of Gold Standards Framework, said: “Keri’s determination, vision, and expertise have had a huge impact on end of life care, overseeing the training of staff in more than 3,000 care homes, 80 acute hospitals, 40 community hospitals and dozens of GP surgeries.
“She is humble in her approach and yet has affected the lives and deaths of millions of people in this country for the better.”
Dr Thomas is married to retired vicar the Rev Mark Thomas, and has five children.
She was formerly national clinical lead for palliative care in the NHS end of life care programme and clinical expert in end of life care for the Royal College of General Practitioners.
Shropshire Star 30th December 2016