Dr Ros Taylor MBE has a special interest in a holistic approach to cancer care, combining the best supportive care that modern medicine can offer with an individual psychological, nutritional and well-being approach. She believes that understanding the person, their background, their networks and what matters to them, helps to personalise a plan of care.
Dr Taylor trained in medicine at Cambridge University and Westminster Hospital London and qualified in 1980. She first pursued a career as a GP for 10 years but became increasingly interested in the unique challenges that patients and families face when a terminal illness is diagnosed. She left general practice for a career in palliative and hospice medicine and was appointed as Medical Director and Chief Executive of the Hospice of St Francis in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, in 1996.
She remained in this post for 18 years until 2015, leading the hospice through a period of expansion, driving a successful £6m project to rebuild the hospice on a new site and transforming day care services into a wellbeing service.
She believes clinical leadership is vital, keeping core values of care in focus from the bedside to the Board and was able to maintain her role as senior doctor throughout her time at the hospice, supporting patients on the inpatient unit and in the community.
Dr Taylor’s role at the Royal Marsden involves consultations with patients on the wards at all stages of cancer treatment, aiming to ensure the best quality of life for the patients and support of those close to them. She helps with decision making and symptom control.
She works closely with the oncology and surgical teams caring for the patients.
Her role at Hospice UK involves supporting the palliative approach to care and identifying best practice in hospice with a view to sharing across the UK. What is palliative care? It is an extra layer of support, involving a physical, psychological and spiritual approach to care, often when cure may not be possible.
Dr Taylor was awarded an MBE in 2014 for services to hospice care.
She is up to date in pain and symptom control and lectures widely on these topics, teaching doctors and nurses across the NHS. She reads widely about new approaches to staying well with advancing illness.
Patients consult with Dr Taylor for many reasons, but mainly because they want a more holistic approach to care than might be available in a busy NHS setting. She sees patients who need advice on pain, breathlessness, nausea and some of the other symptoms that cancer and its treatment brings.
She can also advise on lifestyle, diet and complementary approaches to staying well for longer.