Robert Twycross

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Robert Twycross (born 29 January 1941) is a retired British physician and writer. He was a pioneer of the hospice movement during the 1970s, when he helped palliative care gain recognition as an accepted field of modern medicine.[1][2]

Education and early achievements[edit]

Twycross graduated from Oxford University, receiving a BM BCh in 1965. After completing his MRCP, in 1971 he was appointed as a Clinical Research Fellow at St Christopher's Hospice by Dame Cicely Saunders.

During his tenure there, Twycross completed studies on the effectiveness of morphine, diamorphine and methadone in managing cancer pain. These studies helped standardize and simplify the treatment of pain, eliminating more complicated treatments such as the Brompton cocktail. This research led to Dr. Twycross being awarded the University of Oxford higher degree of Doctor of Medicine.[3]

Later career and international influence[edit]

Twycross served as the Director of the World Health Organization's Collaborating Centre for Palliative Care from 1988–2005, which signalled a period of extensive travel and teaching around the world, most notably to Poland, India, and Argentina.[3] He also served for 25 years at Sir Michael Sobell House in Oxford, from 1976–2001, first as the NHS Medical Director and later as Clinical Reader in Palliative Medicine, Oxford University, and Consultant Physician. In 1996 he was elected Fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists "for services to medicine," the first physician to be elected from the field of palliative medicine and hospice care.[4] Twycross retired from Oxford University and the National Health Service in 2001.[edit]

In 2004, Twycross, along with Dr Andrew Wilcock, founded Ltd, to provide "essential independent information for health professionals worldwide about drugs used in palliative and hospice care."[5] In addition to publishing books, they maintain the website, where the information from the Palliative Care Formulary is available on-line. The website has received positive reviews,[6] and had some 20,000 registered members as of October 2011.[7] The latest book to be published by, the Palliative Care Formulary 4th edition,[8] was published in October 2011 and is available through[5]


  • Honorary membership of the Polish Society for Palliative Medicine, 2011
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, 2008[9]
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Indian Association of Palliative Care, 2008
  • Vittorio Ventafridda Award, International Association for Hospice & Palliative Care, 2006
  • Fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists, 1996
  • Sertürner Award, Germany, 1995
  • Founder's Award, National Hospice Organization, 1994
  • Aid and Cooperation Medal, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Poland, 1993


  1. ^ University of British Columbia, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Family Practice, "Division of Palliative Care hosts lectures by pioneering physician, Dr. Robert Twycross", 9 June 2009
  2. ^ Minton, Michael, Introduction to 25 Years in Palliative Medicine at Sir Michael Sobell House: A Festschrift for Robert Twycross, p. 1.
  3. ^ a b 25 Years in Palliative Medicine at Sir Michael Sobell House: A Festschrift for Robert Twycross, Radcliffe Medical Press, 2003. ISBN 1-85775-840-4
  4. ^ Hillier, Richard "Palliative Care: Robert's Contribution" in 25 Years in Palliative Medicine at Sir Michael Sobell House, p. 4
  5. ^ a b Main Page. "[1]", accessed 8 September 2010. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  6. ^ Gavrin, J. Expert Knowledge in Palliative Care on the World Wide Web: Journal of Pain & Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy. Vol. 23(4), 2009. "[2]", accessed 10 August 2010.
  7. ^ announce the release of the Palliative Care Formulary Canadian edition. "[3]", accessed 14 September 2010.
  8. ^ Palliative Care Formulary 4th Edition. "Palliative Care Formulary 4th Edition (UK)". "[4]", accessed 5 August 2011.
  9. ^ American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine Awards

External links[edit]