Palliative Care

Palliative care maximises living for people faced with life-limiting illness.

The goal of the Palliative Care Service is to work alongside patients, their important support people and their medical/surgical teams to help achieve and maintain maximum physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, vocational, cultural and social potentials, however limited they may be as a result of disease progression. We recognise that dying is a normal process and we aim to neither hasten nor postpone death.

The Canterbury Palliative Care Service is an integrated service incorporating the tertiary hospital, community services and Nurse Maude Hospice.

Why specialise in Palliative Medicine?

Palliative Care brings together the intellectual and academic interest of medicine with the concern for treating a person holistically with an emphasis on care and comfort. Palliative care is a growing field of need and offers many areas of special interest for the clinician. It offers a specialty where past career and life choices are valuable in a new setting.

The “Palliative Approach” is appropriate in many fields of medicine but can feel foreign within specialist services unless a doctor has been exposed to Palliative Medicine as an entity. This argues strongly for spending some time in Palliative Care whatever one’s specialty choice will be eventually.

Career prospects

Our population continues to age. With this comes the increased need for the services that Palliative Care offers. This has been recognised at governmental levels and there is goodwill towards increasing the workforce within Palliative Care. This bodes well for career prospects for Palliative Medicine Physicians and also for doctors who have an interest in the field.

Medical Kaimahi (staff) in our service

Five SMOs work as a team across the hospital, hospice and in the community. Two trainee RMO positions are available and one rotating position.

All about our service

We provide a consultative service to all wards and hospitals across the CDHB. There is an increasing collaboration with the Community and Hospice which service the greater Canterbury region - with some responsibility for the West Coast.
The “Team” within the hospital consists of Consultant Physician, Nurse Practitioner, Specialist Palliative Care Nurses and Registrar. In the community we are joined by two more consultant physicians, registered and specialist nurses, another trainee registrar and Allied Health Care Specialists.
We will assess the patient promptly and where possible inpatients will be seen on the day of referral. Patients in the community are contacted on the day of their referral and a convenient time is negotiated to see them - usually within 3 days.
We assist with planning for discharge and liaison with community services.
Clinics allow for an integrated approach between hospital and community specialties. Our team members are frequently involved in meetings with the patient and their extended family to explore the implications of the sufferer's disease and the impact this will have on their living situation.


Research in the field is highly valued and encouraged where there is an interest in contributing to the body of knowledge. There is excellent access to the Oncology Service Research Unit - actively supported to join multi-centre trials. Assistance with ethics approval, nursing etc is provided by CORU.

SMO / Kaimahi (staff) support

24 hour SMO on-call availability. The senior staff pride themselves on their approachability and welcome opportunities to use difficult clinical situations as teaching opportunities.

Advantages to training at Palliative Care, Canterbury District Health Board

We have an integrated Palliative Care Service allowing for full training in Palliative Medicine within the region.
We are an accredited site for the Post Graduate Diploma of Clinical Palliative Medicine. (This is a useful further training for other clinicians - such as Family Doctors - with an interest in Palliative care.)
There is an active education and training programme in place.
Relationships with GPs ,community services and residential facilities are excellent, with an active educational focus directed towards them.


Dr Kate Grundy
Clinical Director, Canterbury Palliative Care Services
Phone: (+64 3) 364 1473

Back to Specific Services

Find Job Now

Be part of something great

A World Leader in Health Care