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Where it all started for Ellenor’s Children’s Hospice heroine

PUBLISHED: 16:30 08 March 2019

Beverley Barclay helped launched Ellenor's.

Beverley Barclay helped launched Ellenor's.

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The woman who helped establish Britain’s first paediatric care service of its kind has spoken about her work in the field to mark this year International Women’s Day.

Beverley Barclay, is clinical lead for Ellenor’s Children’s Hospice at Home Service, Northfleet.

She has devoted much of her life to looking after families facing terminal illness and helping to ensure they receive the best specialised care and was made an MBE in 2016.

It recognised her career spanning three decades in the hospice sector, and for her passion and commitment to helping children and young adults.

In 1994 she helped establish Ellenor’s.

It was the first paediatric care service of its kind in the UK and in 2005, she pioneered the first ever transition service for young adults, but how did it all start?

She said: “I joined ellenor in 1992 as an Inpatient Ward Team Leader working within the hospice to provide specialist palliative nursing care to patients in North West Kent and later Bexley.

“Two years later ellenor became the UK’s first children’s full hospice at home service, delivering chemotherapy, oncology and end of life care to seriously ill babies, children and young adults in the home.

“We are still the only hospice in Kent that provides nursing care in the home.”

Being a woman is also important, but not the over-riding requirement in hospice work.

She said: “It’s important for women to be empowered to ensure equal opportunities for training, work promotion and equal wages. In palliative care, women have made great contributions to the health of their community for many years.

“On my first day on my first ward, a nurse came up to me and said ‘Please remember to treat everybody with the same dignity, respect, care and compassion as you would your own family because that could be your family member lying in that bed one day’. I have never forgotten those words.”

She added: “I have never really considered my work at Ellenor as gender related. Hospice care is very balanced and we are privileged to work in an environment that values the contribution of women.”

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