“It’s Time to Talk” Podcast Series

TV & Radio Presenter & Anne Robson Trust Patron, Bill Turnbull, talks to industry professionals about why, now more than ever, it’s so important to be brave and discuss the end of our lives.

Set up in 2018, The Anne Robson Trust works in partnership with NHS Hospitals to help them set up and run teams of “Butterfly Volunteers”. These volunteers sit with patients who are in the last days and hours of their life, many of whom have no other visitors at all. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, the Butterfly Volunteers are not currently able to provide this support.

The pandemic is causing extensive disruption across untold areas of everyone’s lives. Covid-19 means that, in particular, there are dramatic ramifications for the sick and dying in hospital as in many cases they are unable to be visited.

So often we hear that patient’s families regret not talking to their loved one before they became so ill. We want to encourage people to sit down with their nearest and dearest, have the conversation about what they would want at the end of their life, write it down, put it away and live life to the full.

Bill Turnbull

There are so many questions:

  • How do I even start talking about dying?
  • Why is it so important? – I worry that talking about death might make it happen.
  • What do you mean when you say ‘get your paperwork in order’?

In our first series of It’s Time To Talk, Bill Turnbull chats to a cross section of people about their personal and professional experiences. We hope you find them interesting and informative.

Podcast Episodes

It is a simple truth that we are all going to die.

Do we have the courage to have conversations about death and dying?

The podcast series, It’s time to talk aims to encourage people to find the strength to have exactly these conversations. In this episode, Bill and Liz chat about why there is a need to talk about dying. What kind of things do we need to talk about?

And why are people reluctant to talk about death?

Bill, as someone living with cancer, discusses how talking about death can bring enlightenment and comfort, and he encourages listeners to try to talk to family: it’s a practical thing to do, it lets them know your wishes and – it really does help.

For many of us, just hearing the words Covid 19 brings our fears and anxieties around death, dying and bereavement to the fore. And, with Covid 19, our opportunities to say goodbye to someone we love might be taken away.

In this episode Nick and Bill talk these subjects through these – and Covid 19 makes it more important than ever to talk about and share your last wishes with family.

Here, Nick talks with Bill about the most difficult conversation he ever had with his wife – discussing her last wishes before she died and sharing some of the details around end of life and the comfort those details can bring, including music and playlists for funerals.

David coordinated Chris Evan’s Mum’s funeral and is now referred to as ‘Mr Funeral’ by Chris Evans.

David shares from a personal perspective how he sees death and encourages listeners to find the opportunity to talk and tell family what they would want for a funeral.

He believes it is a healthy conversation to have, even if it is only to let loved ones know a preference to be buried or cremated.

In his experience it gives family members so much comfort to know they are following a loved one’s last wishes, and that’s so important for those who have to face losing a loved one through Covid-19.

As Director for Infection Prevention and Control and Executive Lead at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for Patient Experience and Engagement.

Bill chats with Nancy about the nursing challenges that the Covid-19 has brought and what people can expect if they or a family member have to go to hospital during Covid-19.

Nancy expresses her belief that the best psychological preparation for coping with some of the fear and anxiety Covid-19 brings, is to have conversations with loved ones about last wishes whilst everyone is well.

Roy chats very openly to Bill about his personal experience of his father dying in hospital 25 years ago and his belief that it is possible for society to recognise death and dying more, and to do it better.

Roy recommends some steps we can take, should a loved one fall ill during the Covid-19 crisis. Their conversation highlights the importance of end of life care and the importance of recognising the need for grieving and bereavement.

In her incredibly moving book ‘Dear Life’ Rachel re-tells her experiences of helping to care for thousands of people at the end of their lives. The cruelty of Coronavirus is that it limits the ability of loved ones to be together when a family member is gravely ill.

Rachel shares some powerful stories of the exceptional human behaviour that she has witnessed during this time of Coronavirus.

Rachel chats to Bill about why having the conversation about what a person would wish for at the end of their life is so important and she helpfully offers some practical tips about how to start this very difficult conversation. Talking about death isn’t going to make it happen and having these difficult conversations is an act of care, compassion and love for family members. Bill also asks Rachel to explain Do Not Resuscitate Orders in depth for us.

Dame Esther Rantzen, TV broadcaster, journalist and founder of ChildLine and Silver Line Charities, engages in a lively chat with her daughter, Rebecca Wilcox, and Bill about the fear of loneliness and the fear that the Coronavirus brings to the older generation

Esther and Rebecca open up about how they have not yet had the conversation about last wishes and what Esther would want to happen should she become ill.

Bill shares with Esther his thoughts about his own relationship with death since being diagnosed with an incurable disease and hopes that this might help Ester to discuss her own thoughts and wishes about dying, to her family.