Atlas of Palliative Care Across Europe Unveiled

Issued: Wed, 29 May 2013 10:07:00 BST

The standard of palliative care provided for those approaching the end of their lives varies greatly, according to the first comprehensive European overview of the service.

Researchers, led by Professor David Clark from the University of Glasgow and  Professor Carlos Centeno  of the University of Navarra, Spain have compiled a European Atlas of provision which will be unveiled at the World Congress of Palliative Care, in Prague, May 30th – June 2nd 2013.

The Atlas offers a comprehensive overview of services, policies and strategies to improve end of life care in the 53 countries which make up the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) European Region through a series of maps which chart the relationship in many countries between high Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Human Development Index (HDI) and indicators relating to health expenditure. The Atlas also contains detailed profiles of palliative care delivery in each country, with information updated from a previous study in 2007.

The team found that some countries, including the United Kingdom, Sweden and Iceland scored consistently high on all indicators, with the highest concentration of palliative care services per head of population found to be in Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg and Sweden.

Although levels end of life provision were poorer in the former Communist block the research did conclude that Eastern European palliative care provision was generally good, in spite of the relatively lower standards of living in that part of the continent, with the Republic of Moldova, Romania and Poland noted as areas where a significant level of palliative care development has been reached.

Professor David Clark, who is Director of the Dumfries Campus and Head of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Glasgow and a leading researcher in the field said that ”As the population in Europe ages, there is a growing interest in palliative care and how individuals can be supported towards the end of life.  This Atlas is a key tool to drive policy and practice across Europe and to assist in the development of new services.”

Other significant findings since 2007 include:

  • A substantial number of countries have achieved Specialty or Sub-specialty accreditation in Palliative Medicine (with a further number in process);
  • There has been a significant increase in the integration of palliative care legislation into the health policy of many countries;
  • The ´vitality´ of palliative care (identified national associations, published journals, related directories, attendees at conferences, etc.) has improved in the vast majority of European countries;
  • Palliative care service provision for children continues to develop throughout the WHO European Region.


The EAPC Atlas of Palliative Care in Europe 2013 Cartographic Edition is available to be viewed from

For more information about the conference, go to   

For more information contact the University of Glasgow's Media Relations Office on or 01413303535

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