Coal Face Caring

Welcome to, the aim of which is to provide a resource and an additional means of support and encouragement for those who are currently experiencing health-related concerns, whether in themselves or in others. It may be that such concerns are family- or friend-orientated. Then again, your interest in such a site as this, may be motivated, at least in part, by the nature of your occupation /vocation in healthcare; or as a personal carer. What is on offer here is by no means “rocket science” (although it is rooted and grounded, wherever possible, in sound scientific research and practice). In its way therefore, it is at least as valuable and, at this precise moment in time may be, much more relevant and meaningful to your day-by-day life and functioning.

Many, if not most of us, well know that the skilfully directed, kindly and attentive listening ’ear’, affording opportunity to gently and non-threateningly ease such concerns into the light of day, can, of itself, work wonders. Even little more than an appropriate and sensitively delivered comment – judiciously offered – has been known to afford release and comfort. Thus, hopefully, you are beginning to perceive from the outset, something of the vision that the author of this website had when he first set out to write the various blogs posts that it now contains. We believe that there is good reason to look forward to an interesting, meaningful and profitable (purely in the supportive sense) contact and, where appropriate, interaction. Once again, “Welcome”. We hope you find comfort in reading the various blogs written by,  who we believe was, a very special and gifted man.

A tribute to the author
Sidney Bindemann (SB)
Rev Dr Sidney Bindemann BScEcon, MSc, CSci, PhD, CPsychol, AFBPsS was a retired clinical psychologist and United Reformed Church (URC) minister, who was rightly regarded as a founding figure within the modern discipline of psycho-oncology.

Sadly, Dr Bindemann died on the 8th of August 2020, aged 87. When in the 1970s he was appointed Principal Clinical Psychologist to the Department of Clinical Oncology within the University of Glasgow, it was the first full-time appointment of its kind in the UK. Cancer Research UK (then CRC) described his research activities of those days as “innovative and pioneering”.

Paying tribute in the Herald obituary, Professor Sir Kenneth Calman, Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, said: “The Department of Oncology was established at the University of Glasgow in 1974. It was an exciting time in caring for cancer patients as new procedures and treatments were just being developed.

“But central to the work of the Department was to recognise that patients, and their families, had significant experience of cancer and that we could learn from them how things could be improved.

“Sid Bindemann was an essential part of this process by finding out just how useful this knowledge could be and using this to improve patient care and quality of life. His own background in psychology was particularly helpful and he had an important role in this process.

“This was pioneering work in which Sid had an important role, and improved the lives of patients with cancer, not just in Glasgow but beyond.”

His innovative and pioneering coping techniques and strategies were often transformational and helped many to cope during the most challenging of circumstances. Even in 2020, when he was in frail health, but still determined to positively contribute to the wellbeing of cancer patients and their relatives, he published a book (available via Amazon) he had written some years before, entitled “Living and Coping with Cancer…..Help and Support Through Letters from a Friend”.

In the words of Professor of Cancer Medicine at Oxford University, Professor David Kerr, “This book will contribute to improving the quality of life and mental health of cancer patients around the globe”.

Dr Bindemann was a founding (and the first) UK member of the EORTC Quality of Life
Study Group, as well as of the European Society of Psychosocial Oncology (ESPO; later to become the European Federation EFPOS). He was similarly a founding member of the British Psycho-oncology Society (BPOS) and was elected to “life” membership in 1999 in recognition of his services to the Society in particular and psycho-oncology in general. He  also held the office of hon. senior lecturer of a number of years in the University of Glasgow’s Oncology Department, Faculty of Medicine.

For many years before retirement, he served as consultant clinical psychologist at the Beatson Oncology Centre (BOC), Glasgow and Director of the Phoenix Cancer Foundation (a Scottish Cancer Charity at that time). Although now in his “eighties” and well retired, Dr Bindemann retains a current and lively interest in all matters concerning both valid assessment and active proliferation of QL,especially in patients suffering from serious and life-threatening illnesses.

Of much of that period SB recalls, “Over a time span of several years, some 300 new cancer patients (in addition to those already in attendance) were being referred to my clinics year-on-year, by GPs, hospital and hospice doctors. They hailed from widely differing social, economic, academic and cultural backgrounds, young and not so young, each possessing his/her unique temperament, personality and personal life story. Thus there accrued in the conventional way, e.g. via clinic notes etc., an abundance of relevant and rich experience of and encounter with patients in need. Add to this my own tendency (with the present task of writing to you very much in mind) to painstakingly collate and annotate such first hand experience of patients; and the basis for and rationale of a volume of this kind becomes readily apparent.

References to conversations with specific patients are authentic and genuine in their entirety. However, names (as well as other identifying characteristics/features) have been changed throughout to preserve confidentiality and anonymity. Quote marks are employed in the conventional way, i.e. in order to indicate actual verbal response/reaction. Although I am unable to claim absolute literal accuracy to the precise word and letter in every instance, ready access to patients’ records, together with personal notes gathered and a good memory, have combined to ensure integrity in sense and meaning of every such reference.” All entries to this website are subject to and consistent with UK Copyright law. (C)SB

Dedication” and all the contents of this website are dedicated to Christine Miriam (Chris); late wife of Rev.d Dr Sidney Bindemann; Chris received the  diagnosis of Acute myeloid leukaemia in September 2005 and passed from this life on November 7th 2006. Loved for ever; a constant inspiration and remembered always. SB.

The website it now being managed by Innervate Ltd.

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