Professor Max Watson is well known as a palliative care clinician and academic and the driving force behind the highly successful Project ECHO in Northern Ireland. The ECHO model uses video-conferencing technology to create communities of practice linking primary care doctors, nurses, and specialist clinicians. It provides expert advice, peer to peer learning and support on caring for patients with complex health conditions in the community, including end of life care.
His role for St Margaret’s will be to support teaching at the Hospice’s existing Academy, deliver lectures and be one of the keynote speakers in the Hospice’s 2018 guest lecture series. He will also help to shape the organisation’s new ‘Virtual Academy’ which will allow a range of people involved in delivering end of life care in the county to use technology to dial in virtually to a range of learning events.
Professor Watson was formerly Medical Director of the Northern Ireland Hospice and is currently Visiting Professor at the University of Ulster and Honorary Senior Lecturer at Queens University in Belfast. He is also Honorary Consultant at Princess Alice Hospice, Esher and Project ECHO Programme Director at Hospice UK.
He has authored and edited more than 10 books and has taught and lectured extensively across the world. His research interests include dementia care, ultrasound in Hospice, thromboprophylaxis, global palliative care and generalist education.
He has initiated a wide range of educational programmes including the European Certificate in Essential Palliative Care which has been completed by over 15,000 clinicians worldwide since its inception in the Princess Alice Hospice in 2001.
Commenting on his new appointment, Professor Watson said: ”I have always believed in the use of technology and generalist learning as a means of democratising medical knowledge and improving the delivery of palliative care in rural areas, such as Somerset, expanding its reach to more people who need this form of care. That said, I believe more in the power of a community of practitioners who mutually respect and support each other to deliver consistent high quality care to those who need it most where they need it most. ECHO is not so much about the tech as the team.”
Professor Watson was first introduced to St Margaret’s when he was invited to present on Project Echo as part of the Hospice’s Fit for Future consultation, looking at the future delivery of end of life care.
He said: “The Fit for Future consultation has been an ambitious and forward looking approach to the future delivery of end of live care, particularly in the community, as we live longer and with more complex needs in the face of limited resources. Two of the key findings are the need for better use of technology and the ability to deliver care in the community effectively with other partners. I was pleased to contribute to it and excited at the opportunity to continue to work with the innovative team at St. Margaret’s who have shown such commitment to finding new ways of providing care which are fit for the challenges of our time.”
Ann Lee, chief executive, St Margaret’s said: “When Professor Watson came to present to us on Project Echo we knew then that we wanted to find some way of harnessing that expertise here in St Margaret’s and so we are thrilled that he has agreed to be our first visiting professor. He will be a real asset to our existing clinical team.”