PROFILE - Dr Louise Welch
...Dr Louise Welch is a palliative care physician at Nambour Hospital on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.
The position is district wide and allows for private patient care.Louise
enjoys teaching and shares her
skills and growing experience with younger doctors.Dr Welch
is among the first generation of doctors in Queensland to specialise in palliative care.When she
first took an interest in palliative care in the early 1980s, Mt Olivet Hospital
at Kangaroo Point in Brisbane was the only fully dedicated palliative care facility in Queensland.Specialist palliative care physicians were almost non-existent. Dr Welch
realised early on that there were gaps in palliative care services across the care spectrum.Now there is a much broader palliative care structure with some 20 palliative care physicians across the state.Dr Welch is a Queenslander, born in Cairns as one of eight children.She graduated from the University of Queensland in 1977 and carried out her internship at Cairns Base Hospital, becoming a general practitioner in 1982.Dr Welch's
interest continued in the palliative care aspect of general practice and in 1992 she
undertook six months further training at Mt Olivet
"As a GP, when I was looking after palliative care patients I was unsatisfied with overall care in the hospitals and the community situation," Dr Welch
"I explored assistance from specialist colleagues and became aware of gaps in knowledge in the care of the dying.From my point of view no-one was specifically studying care of the dying in Queensland apart from Mt Olivet
After completing her
training, Dr Welch
returned to Cairns
as a visiting medical officer (VMO) specialising in palliative care for about ten years.
"I am particularly interested in end-of-life decision-making and I really enjoy my relationship with Palliative Care Australia
," Dr Welch
said."Palliative Care Australia
works towards ensuring services for dying people continue and are important
"I get great personal and professional satisfaction from helping people in my capacity as a palliative specialist and to observe their quality of life improve."Dr Welch has been a member of the Executive Board of Palliative Care Australia for three years.In 2006 she was appointed President of Palliative Care Queensland.