UCL News


New film project to improve doctor-patient relationship launched in UK by UCL

23 September 2003

An innovative new programme, aimed at improving the understanding of the next generation of doctors for issues around end of life care and the doctor-patient relationship, is being launched this Friday (26th) in the UK by UCL.

The WIT project has already made a significant difference to medical education in medical schools across the USA and Canada. The centre-piece of the programme is the Emmy award-winning film WIT, starring Emma Thompson, telling the story of a woman dying of ovarian cancer.

350 new medical students will view the film as part of their introductory week, before discussing their reactions to the film and the issues it raises. The group discussions will be facilitated by surgeons and cancer and pain specialists. The process will include learning about the humanistic aspects of caring for dying patients, and will provide an opportunity for students and facilitators to discuss their own concerns about caring for those who are dying.

"By asking these young and idealistic students to think about the way illness impacts on all those affected by serious illness- those who are ill, the people who love them, and the professionals caring for them- we hope to shape the way the next generation of doctors think about their role." said Dr Deborah Kirklin, Director of the Centre for Medical Humanities at UCL.

"This is an extremely innovative approach to medical education, and particularly interesting because it is compulsory teaching for those students right at the beginning of their course."

Notes to editors:

  1. More details on the WIT project can be found on the website, at http://www.growthhouse.org/witfilmproject/
  2. Cancer patient and artist, Mr Michele Petrone, who is an honorary lecturer in Medical Humanities at UCL, and director of the MAP Foundation (which uses the creative arts to express and communicate complex and painful issues relating to serious illness and dying, is involved in both the planning and the teaching.
  3. To arrange interviews with Dr Kirklin or Michele Petrone, or if you would wish to attend on Friday, please contact either Dominique Fourniol (07881 833 274) or Alex Brew (0207 679 9726) in the UCL Media Relations Office.