‘I could never bear to see suffering, always felt that I had to do something about it. That is why I went into medicine and that sense of responsibility to others has driven my working life. We live in a world of increasing demands, selfish for our wishes to be met and yet less willing to take responsibility for our failures. All too often we look for something or someone to blame.
In healthcare this has driven a burgeoning of guidelines, protocols etc. but at the end of the day the key standard must be “Is it good enough for your mum (or other nearest and dearest)?” And if not, then it is not good enough for anyone else.
When we are ill we want to know that the person looking after us really cares. We want to know they recognise our human frailty, our humanity, our fears and concerns. We want to know they will secure the best possible care for us – but realistically we all know there are no magic bullets or miracle cures.
Wales has been a wonderful country in which to bring about change in care of the dying because there is a deep sense of community, of connectedness. It has always been clear that if we can make care of the dying the best in the world, then others will learn from us; it is like the ripples on a pond. That is now finally happening, our caring society is invaluable; it is to be treasured, nurtured and built on as it forms the foundation for our future.’
She is a past president of the Royal Society of Medicine. She is a professor of palliative medicine at Cardiff University School of Medicine, and is consultant at the Velindre cancer centre in Cardiff. On 28 June 2001, she was made a life peer as Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, of Llandaff in the county of South Glamorgan.
Baroness Finlay is a co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group, which brings together parliamentarians committed to tackling carbon monoxide poisoning. In October 2011, following a six-month inquiry which she chaired, the Group produced a report entitled Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, including a number of recommendations for policy and behaviour change. Lady Finlay also chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dying Well, which promotes palliative care.
She is a Patron of The Trussell Trust‘s foodbank network in Wales, and the Motor Neurone Disease Association. She is also patron of Student Volunteering, Cardiff. She was a Founding Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales and is a Member of its inaugural Council.