Main content

Joan Bakewell and her panel discuss one of our greatest fears - pain. From the physical to the existential, myths about morphine and common obstacles that can hinder a 'good' death.

Joan Bakewell and her panel explore one of our greatest fears at the end of life - pain.

Pain comes in all shapes and sizes and the meaning we ascribe to it - our suffering - drastically shapes our experience of pain, and how we manage it.

Good symptom control at the end of life requires not only prescription of the right combination of medications, but also knowing when and how to take them. Many doctors are reluctant to prescribe opioids such as morphine until late in the course of disease, and often the doses are too weak. Furthermore, the health system often struggles to keep up with a patients changing symptoms as their disease progresses.

Joan explores what patients can do to better the situation. She dispels the myths about morphine & highlights the obstacles that most commonly hinder our chance of a so called 'good' death. She also discovers how religious belief can influence our experience of pain at the end of life.

Producer: Beth Eastwood

Some clips: Courtesy of Healthtalk.

Available now

43 minutes

Last on

Sat 10 Dec 2016 22:15

The Panel

Jonathan Martin, Consultant in Palliative Care at Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust 

Reverend Saskia Barnden, Lead Chaplain at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice

Janet Trundle, a retired Pharmacist in palliative care, now at the School of Pharmacy & Life Sciences at the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen

Contact the programme

If there’s something you’re confused about on the subject of death and dying, just one question you’d like us to explore, please email your question to us here


  • Wed 7 Dec 2016 20:00
  • Sat 10 Dec 2016 22:15

Find all episodes

Find all episodes

Select and listen to episodes of We Need to Talk About Death