Baroness Ilora Finlay Nominated for Work on Palliative Care and the Organ Donor Option

Baroness Ilora Finlay of Llandaff

Baroness Ilora Finlay of Llandaff

London, UK – March 5, 2015 – Baroness Finlay of Llandaff has been shortlisted from over 100 candidates this year for the 3rd Annual Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Award. The award recognises outstanding politicians and diplomats who are representing civilian interests at the highest level in areas of policy, social and business overall. Baroness Finlay of Llandaff is nominated for her ongoing work on palliative care and the organ donor option.  

A licensed doctor, Baroness Finlay has dedicated much of her career to improving the care of the terminally ill. When she became a life peer, her focus turned to ensuring that major health legislation improved patient care, and on tobacco control. This included her proposals to ban smoking in public places, which subsequently became law nationwide, and the Sunbed Act to ensure sunbeds are supervised and not used by those under 18 years of age because of the increased risk of skin cancer from tanning. She also campaigns to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. 

As a specialist of palliative care, she has vigorously championed improvements to patient care, particularly for the dying.  Like most doctors, she opposes physician assisted suicide, saying the duty of care is to redouble efforts to improve a dying patient’s situation, not to participate in their suicide. She recalls such patients who went on to live well, some for years, with appropriate care. Baroness Finlay has highlighted the plight of bereaved children and those who care for them, recently achieving a revision of the rules around Universal Credit for carers of children in distress. She has led education in care of the dying, pushing for better pain relief worldwide and for doctors to communicate better with patients and avoid futile treatments. Her work in palliative care has also extended to India, Hong Kong, and Africa by educating professionals in symptom control and better care of patients and their families. 

Baroness Finlay has been particularly active in raising the debate for Britain to consider moving to the ‘opt out’ system for organ donation. Currently, individuals choose to register themselves as a donor after death, but the ‘opt out’ system will automatically presume consent from individuals to donate organs unless explicitly objecting to it. One donor can save the lives of several people, yet there is a great shortage of donors particularly from BAME communities who are at high-risk of kidney failure due to diabetes. In 2009, she succeeded in changing government policy on organ donation to allow potential organ donors to specify a family member or close friend to whom they wish to donate their organs, which is an important step to encouraging individuals to becoming a donor. Wales has now legislated for and opt-out system, which is currently being implemented. 

Talyn Rahman-Figueroa, Executive Director of Grassroot Diplomat, said: “All too often, we hear stories of our governments not representing our needs but Grassroot Diplomat looks upon selfless individuals who work tirelessly for their communities. The award seeks to create a culture of positive role models within our governments which encourages others in power to follow suit.”  

Baroness Finlay is an excellent role model in Parliament, exemplifying the importance of having a specialist subject debated by experts who understand and work with those individuals who are directly affected by legislation. 

Join Baroness Ilora Finlay and other government nominees for the gala dinner at The May Fair Hotel, London on Thursday 5th March 2015. For ticket information please visit: or call 07511 816689. 

Further details about the awards can be found on:


About Grassroot Diplomat 

Grassroot Diplomat is a non-profit diplomatic consultancy with the mission to facilitate trust and better communication between governments and civil society. As an independent agency, Grassroot Diplomat shows no allegiance to a solitary government but will act in the interest of the people, no matter where they are or what state their country is in. We do this by developing, strengthening, and facilitating relationships between governments and civil society stakeholders on a project-by-project basis. 


Nina Maxwell

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Office of Baroness Ilora Finlay
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