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BLOG: “There’s always something we can do” Dr Sioned Evans on our compassionate care

When someone is perfectly suited to their job and loves what they do, it shines out of them when they’re speaking about their work.

Within a very short time of meeting Dr Sioned Evans, St Luke’s Consultant in Palliative Care in our Community team, it’s obvious just how passionate she is about her role and how dedicated she is to providing the very highest calibre of care for patients at such a vulnerable time, which also helps those around them.

While she is already a familiar face at St Luke’s, having worked within our team at Derriford Hospital since 2013, Sioned’s full-time role within the Community team is new, building on the work of Dr Doug Hooper who is now able to dedicate more time to end of life patients at the hospital, and Dr Jeff, who continues to cover community MDT in Cornwall. This development is a natural progression for our organisation as we adapt to the changing needs of those in our care, the majority of whom want to be looked after at home in familiar surroundings and close to loved ones.

Sioned initially trained as a GP before commencing her palliative care registrar training in Plymouth and in Exeter and Torquay. In 2017, she was appointed as a Consultant at St Luke’s.

She said: “I’m driven by a strong desire to make a difference to people who are nearing the end of life even when others might think there’s nothing more that can be done. While we cannot take away the inevitable, I believe there is always something we can do to ease things for them and make their journey as good as it
can be.

“It is hugely rewarding to be part of such a lovely and dedicated team. From our nurses to our occupational therapists and physio team, our social care team to our clinical admin staff, everyone is completely committed to doing their very best for our patients and their families, taking the time to understand their needs and tailoring our holistic care and support accordingly.”

With such invaluable specialist experience in caring for terminally ill people at end of life, Sioned’s presence and advice gives the team around her, which includes our Community Specialist Nurses and End of Life Urgent Care staff, the confidence to care for patients with the most complex needs. This is also very helpful to patients’ GPs and in turn aims to reduce unnecessary acute admissions to hospital or our specialist unit.

Sioned, who is married to Andy, Spiritual Care Specialist at Rowcroft Hospice in Torbay, and has two children, said: “For me, this is the perfect role as I can draw on my experience as a GP and a palliative care physician. And having had the privilege of working across all three of St Luke’s care teams means I have gained awareness and understanding of the particular nature and pressures of each.

“It’s been a real period of transition in the Community team with new staff and office changes, as well as new IT systems, but we know it’s all positive and will further enhance patient care.

“Already, our service is benefiting from having a single point of access and the multidisciplinary team meetings that are now daily, which means we can respond more quickly to the changing needs of our patients.
There are other exciting developments ahead, too, as we work towards digital consultations with other healthcare professionals and closer working with community hospitals, such as Tavistock.

“Joining the Community team has been a huge learning curve for me and I’ve been made so welcome. I’m so impressed with the professionalism of everyone and very excited that we are continuing to develop our service, keeping it patient focussed and making it the most safe and effective it
can be.”