Click here for a PDF of Ann's memorial service, photos and obituary
We are deeply saddened to announce the death of our co-founder, Dr. Ann McPherson, on 28th May 2011. Ann was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2007.
Ann was a tireless campaigner for the rights of patients. Through her work with the Health Experiences Research Group, University of Oxford, and the DIPEx charity, Ann was the driving force behind the charity’s websites – Healthtalkonline and Youthhealthtalk – which publish people’s personal experiences of over 60 illnesses and health conditions. Ann brought unique insight into the issues affecting people’s health, following 30 years experience as an Oxford GP.
In addition to her work on personal health experiences, Ann has campaigned for changes in the law relating to assisted dying (a term Ann very much preferred over assisted suicide).
Ann will be greatly missed by her family, all her colleagues and by the vast number of friends and fellow campaigners that she worked with all her life.
Ann’s family issued the following statement:
"Above all, she was a truly wonderful wife, mum and granny. Her ability apparently so effortlessly to combine her professional life with her family life should provide inspiration to working women everywhere. Many of her happiest times were spent relaxing with her family in the south of France or North Oxford and she was never short of fun ideas and activities for her beloved grandchildren. Her death leaves a huge gap in many lives and her husband, three children and five grandchildren (with one on the way) can only hope in some way to do justice to her formidable spirit."
Obituary - The Guardian 30th May, 2011
CLICK-----> Hugh grant accepts the BMJ Health Communicator of the Year award on behalf of terminally ill winner and healthtalkonline.org founder, Dr Ann McPherson - 19th May, 2011
CLICK----->Dr Ann receives “Lifetime Achievement Award" from UK's top medical journalist - July 2010
CLICK----->Dr Ann McPherson: The GP who believes she should be allowed help to end her life - 29th January, 2011
Hugh grant accepts the BMJ Health Communicator of the Year award on behalf of terminally ill winner and healthtalkonline.org founder, Dr Ann McPherson - 19th May, 2011
(View the acceptance speech on the right hand side of this page)
Recognising Excellence in Healthcare
Last night saw a major celebration of excellence in healthcare in the London Hilton on Park Lane. Hosted by BMJ Editor-in-Chief, Dr Fiona Godlee and author and presenter Gavin Esler, the ceremony brought together over 500 of some of the most influential figures in healthcare. This included Muir Gray, Ian Chalmers, Bruce Keogh, David Nicholson, Bernard Crump, Jack Wennberg and Richard Peto.
Two of the many highlights of the evening include Professor Sir Richard Peto being awarded the BMJ Group award for Lifetime Achievement and the attendance by Hugh Grant. He came as patron of healthtalkonline.org to accept the Health Communicator of the Year award on behalf of terminally ill winner and healthtalkonline.org founder, Dr Ann McPherson.
Dr Ann receives “Lifetime Achievement Award" from UK's top medical journalists - July 2010
(Please click on the images to the right to hear celebrities and colleagues talk about Dr Ann McPherson).
Dr Ann McPherson, a GP, Oxford academic and innovative health educator, last night received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the UK’s top medical journalists.
The Medical Journalists’ Association presented the accolade following her 30 years spent improving both public and professional understanding of health and illness. Her stream of successful enterprises stems from an uncanny ability to think outside the box - and turn extraordinary ideas into vibrant, sustainable projects.
The jewels in the crown have been www.healthtalkonline.org and www.youthhealthtalk.org for adults and children. They feature 10,000 video clips from more than 2000 people, sharing experiences about everything from their first sexual encounter to living with a terminal illness.
These interviews, conducted by Oxford University researchers, provide scientific information and support for others with similar conditions, and provide an insight into their experiences for carers and healthcare professionals. They have been widely praised for uniquely combining objective knowledge with subjective experience.
Dr McPherson set up the academic research arm and co-founded the websites, and the DIPEx charity which manages them, a decade ago - after contracting cancer in the mid 1990s. A GP for 31 years, she is also a successful writer, journalist and broadcaster and has attracted the praise and support of celebrities including patron Hugh Grant, Jon Snow and Jenni Murray, plus leading doctors and specialists.
One of her books, Diary of a Teenage Health Freak (co-authored with Dr Aidan McFarlane), sold over a million copies and has been made into two award-winning television series. It led to her setting up an interactive website, www.teenagehealthfreak.org, providing practical health advice to teenagers.
Dr McPherson has also been active and highly influential in the campaign to legalise assisted dying, freely acknowledging that facing terminal pancreatic cancer, she wishes 'to live as long as possible but not at the expense of enduring an undignified death'.
Receiving her award, Dr McPherson said:
“I am hugely honoured; it’s particularly flattering when it comes from my peers in medical journalism. I accept this on behalf of my whole team at DIPEx and others who have worked with me over the years. I am just the catalyst – nothing would have been possible without true teamwork.
“My message to medical journalists is to follow the example of colleagues who use the sites when writing articles - and above all, I would ask them to pass on the links to readers.
Note to editors:
DIPEx has created two websites – www.healthtalkonline.org and www.youthhealthtalk.org – of people’s experiences of more than 50 different illnesses and health conditions. The websites are aimed at patients, their carers, family and friends, doctors, nurses and other health professionals, and are based on in-depth qualitative research carried out by the Health Experiences Research Group at the University of Oxford.
Users of the websites will find accounts – presented through video, audio and written material –of issues such as reaction to diagnosis, consultation with their doctor, effect on work, social life and relationships, decisions on treatment options and side-effects.
To date, www.healthtalkonline.org has covered illnesses including cancer, heart disease, neurological conditions (Parkinson’s, epilepsy and autism) chronic health issues (HIV, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis) and mental health. It also provide experiences of women’s health, dying and bereavement as well as young people’s experiences of epilepsy, sexual health and cancer on the dedicated youth website – www.youthhealthtalk.org.
Supporters include Jon Snow, Dawn French, John Humphrys, Ian McEwan, Dr Jonathan Miller, Jenni Murray, Michael Palin, Philip Pullman, Libby Purves, Claire Rayner, Thom Yorke, Terry Pratchett and many others. The actor, Hugh Grant has just agreed to be its patron.
DIPEx is a registered charity no. 1087019. It is funded by a range of organisations including the Department of Health, charitable trusts and research groups.
For more Press information contact:
Tel: 020 7544 0016; 07887 877077.
Dr Ann McPherson: The GP who believes she should be allowed help to end her life - 29th January, 2011
A growing number of medical professionals are supporting the idea of assisted dying. Dr Ann McPherson – who herself has only months to live – tells Jeremy Laurance why