The World Health Organization (WHO) defines palliative care as an approach that improvesthe quality of life of patients and their families facing problems associated with life-threatening illnesses, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of earlyidentification, impeccable assessment, treatment of pain and physical, psychosocial andspiritual issues. Service provision in palliative care is multidisciplinary and team work is anessential requirement.

Palliative Medicine is the medical component of palliative care. Palliative medicine isevolving as an independent medical discipline concerned with relief of symptoms andensuring the best possible quality of life for patients with life threatening illness and theirfamilies before and after the death of the patient.

In Sri Lanka, there are an increasing number of patients with cancers, HIV/AIDS, end stagerenal disease, motor neuron disease etc. who require comprehensive palliative care at everystage of their disease process. Due to the dearth of trained personnel, palliative careservices for these patients have not been addressed optimally on most occasions.

Ministry of Health of Sri Lanka has identified the importance of offering palliative careservices at tertiary, secondary & primary care setting to tackle the resurgence of non-communicable diseases including cancers. Knowledge, skills and attitudes regardingpalliative care need to be improved among the health care professionals when developingservices in Sri Lanka.

Importance of initiating post graduate level teaching programme on palliative care washighlighted at the National Advisory Committee Meeting on Cancer Control and was decidedto explore the possibilities to commence a Post Graduate Diploma in Palliative care leadingto a MD at the Post Graduate Institute of Medicine, University of Colombo. As an initialstep, Ministry of Health has suggested a Post Graduate Diploma in Palliative Care ascapacities of medical officers need to be strengthened to cater to this request.

In view of the considerable overlap of specialties involved in providing palliative care, thePGIM initiated the Palliative Medicine programme through the Board of Study inMultidisciplinary Study Courses. Therefore, the programme receives multi-dimensionalinputs from various stakeholders including foreign experts, in order to provide acomprehensive training to its trainees.

At the completion of the course the trainee should be able to:

  1. Manage symptoms and other clinical problems secondary to life-limiting progressivedisease as well as other common concurrent medical problems.
  2. Address and manage psychological, emotional and social issues of patients and theirfamilies within the context of palliative care.
  3. Identify psychiatric conditions and make appropriate psychiatrist referral.
  4. Identify specific disease processes and common emergencies which may arise in thecontext of palliative care.
  5. Prescribe medications within the palliative care setting.
  6. Provide care for dying people in the hospital and the community.
  7. Recognize that spirituality may be a key dimension of the experience of dyingpatients and address spiritual issues when necessary.
  8. Establish therapeutic and supportive relationships with patients and families.
  9. Work effectively with others and collaborate effectively amongst healthprofessionals.
  10. Participate in advocacy for the welfare of individual patients with a life-limitingillness and their families, and facilitate discussion/ encourage promotion of palliativecare issues within the general community.

This course is set at Level 7 of the Sri Lanka Qualifications Framework and meets therequirements of the relevant level descriptors and the minimum admissionsrequirement of a Bachelor’s degree.

(a) A medical degree registered with the Sri Lanka Medical Council.

(b) Satisfactory completion of internship acceptable to the Sri Lanka Medical Council.

(c) Satisfactory completion of one year of post-internship service in a university/publicsector/private sector institution in Sri Lanka acceptable to the PGIM.

(d) The criteria prescribed in paragraph (a) to (c) must have been satisfied by the applicantat the date of closure of applications for the selection examination for the postgraduateDiploma in Palliative Medicine.

(e) Where a shortfall has occurred due to any reasons including sickness, maternity or otherleave, the applicant should complete such a shortfall to be eligible to apply for the selectionexamination.


Sri Lankans in the non-state sector will be selected based on the PGIM’s current General Regulations andGuidelines. The decision of the Board of Management will be final in all such applications. The quota for thenon-state sector is determined each year by the BOS and the same will be included in the advertisement.

Foreign nationals who seek to apply to register for the selection examination should possess a medical degreeregistrable with the Sri Lanka Medical Council. They will be selected based on guidelines for enrolment of non-state sector candidates for training programs, as stipulated in the PGIM’s current General Regulations andGuidelines. The decision of the Board of Management will be final in all such applications.

Please refer to the relevant prospectus for the most up to date information. The prospectus of a particular programme contains official information pertaining to a programme approved by the Board of Management, University Senate and the University Grants Commission

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