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About us


We are a group of independent charities, research organisations and health and social care bodies.

We are helping to drive a movement to encourage lifelong 'What matters' conversations. Our aim is to get people  talking about what is important to each of us.

Having regular 'What matters' conversations enables personal wishes to be heard.  That way, when we become  ill or are dying, planning is easier. Those around us will know what we want and can respect our wishes. This will help us to live well to the very end of our lives.

How this initiative came about is discussed in Julian Abel's blog.

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You may be interested in a short article:


Advance care planning re-imagined: a needed shift for COVID times and beyond

Will you join us?


The Royal College of General Practitioners End of Life Think Tank came together in March 2020. Its purpose was to provide advice, seek agreement and find solutions to the challenges arising as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic for end of life services. Expertly chaired by Dr Catherine Millington-Sanders, RCGP & Marie Curie National End of Life Care Champion and Dr Adrian Tookman, Marie Curie. Hospice Medical Director the group is a broad coalition of partners, including palliative care representation, primary care, third sector organisations including Marie Curie, Macmillan Cancer Support, Cruse Bereavement, Compassionate Communities UK and others, we quickly found our feet and appreciated the free flowing conversation that arose. We were happy to set aside organisational priorities and work together for the benefit of the people we serve to try and cope with the huge demands of the pandemic.

The group has been productive and the 'What Matters Most Charter' is one of its major outputs. Through working together, we raised the money for 2 films, supported by a National Lottery Community Fund grant. Steven Walker, of St Gilesmedical, has supported the group and put up with multiple opinions and views about what should be included in the film. His team have also developed the website together, with the help and support of Tom Robin from Marie Curie in particular. The Charter, the website and the films are a tribute to the tremendous team working and dedication of the whole group. We aim to continue to meet going forward, even as the pandemic subsides. Having established firm and productive relationships across a broad range of organisation, we do not want to lose the opportunity to collaborate further in trying to improve end of life care for the people of the United Kingdom.

Dr Julian Abel December 2020

Royal College of GPs (RCGP) Think Tank experts include representatives from across diverse organisations and professional bodies: 


  • Dr Catherine Millington-Sanders, RCGP & Marie Curie National End of Life Care Champion (Co-Chair) 

  • Dr Adrian Tookman, Marie Curie. Hospice Medical Director (Co-Chair)

  • Dr Julian Abel, Compassionate Communities UK Director

  • Catherine Baldock, Clinical Lead for ReSPECT, Resuscitation Council UK.  

  • Adrienne Betteley, Strategic Adviser for End of Life Care, Macmillan Cancer Support 

  • Lesley Carter RGN, Clinical Lead in Health Influencing Age UK 

  • Lizzie Chambers, Director of Programmes, Together for Short Lives

  • Professor Tim Coates, Accident and Emergency Consultant, Leicester 

  • Professor Alf Collins, Clinical Director for Personalised Care NHSEI 

  • Dr Anthony Cunliffe, Joint National Lead Macmillan GP Adviser 

  • Dr Grainne Doran, RCGP NI End of Life Care Clinical Lead 

  • Carolyn Doyle, RCN Professional Lead, Community and End of Life Care Nursing

  • Dr Dawne Garrett, RCN Professional Lead, Older People and Dementia Nursing 

  • Dr Tarana Hafiz, RCGP & Marie Curie End of Life Care Clinical Support Fellow

  • Dr Scott Jamieson, RCGP Scotland Executive Officer Quality Improvement and EOLC Clinical Support Fellow 

  • Dr Clifford Jones, RCGP Wales End of Life Care Clinical Lead, Primary Care Clinical Director, Aneurin Bevan University Healthboard 

  • Professor Allan Kellehear, Emeritus Professor, University of Bradford 

  • Dr Iain Lawrie, President, Association for Palliative Medicine of Great Britain and Ireland 

  • Dr Kathryn Mannix, Auther, Advocate and former Palliative Care Consultant Physician

  • Dr Rachael Marchant, RCGP & Marie Curie End of Life Care Clinical Support Fellow 

  • Julie Pearce, Marie Curie Chief Nurse, Executive Director of Quality & Caring Services 

  • Dr Sarah Mitchell, Yorkshire Cancer Research Senior Research Fellow, University of Sheffield; Clinical Director for End of Life Care, Sheffield CCG  

  • Dr Patricia Moultrie, Deputy Chair, Scottish General Practitioners Committee, BMA and Medical Director, Glasgow Local Medical Committee 

  • Professor Bill Noble, Honorary Professor of Community Palliative Medicine, Sheffield Hallam University   

  • Dr Sarah Onions, Macmillan GP Facilitator & Palliative Care Doctor 

  • Alison Penny, Director, Childhood Bereavement Network Coordinator, National Bereavement Alliance 

  • Dr Bob Phillips, Paediatric Oncology consultant

  • John Powell MBE, EoL London ADASS Lead and Director of Adult Social Services

  • Dr Belinda Robertson, Healthcare Improvement Scotland

  • Dr Lucy Selman, Senior Research Fellow, The University of Bristol

  • Dr Mark Taubert , Clinical Director & Consultant Physician, Velindre Hospital, Cardiff 

  • Dr Simon Tavabie - Specialist Registrar in Palliative Medicine, Royal London Hospital  

  • Dr Alison Tavare, Primary Care Clinical Lead, West of England Academic Health Science Network 

  • Dr Victoria Tzortziou Brown OBE, RCGP Honorary Secretary 

  • Professor Julia Verne, Public Health England, Clinical Lead National End of Life Care Intelligence Network 

  • Dr Steven Walker, Director, St Gilesmedical, London & Berlin

  • Professor Max Watson, Director Project ECHO Hospice UK, Consultant Palliative Physician, Western Trust 

  • Professor Bee Wee, National Clinical Director for Palliative and End of Life Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement 

  • Louise Vale - Sudden Development Manager

  • Steven Wibberley, Cruse Bereavement, Chief Executive 

  • Mary Williams OBE, Brake and Sudden, Chief Executive 

  • Phoebe Wright - Darzi Fellow and Palliative Care Registrar

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