Introducing the Palprac board: Julia Ambler, paediatric palliative care doctor.

Dr Julia Ambler

Paediatric palliative care doctor in KZN and co-founder of Umduduzi – Hospice care for children

The Umduduzi Team, Julia Ambler on far the right.

Our next board member to introduce is our treasurer, Julia Ambler, a paediatric palliative care doctor. 

Julia discovered the world of palliative care in Oxford, UK where she was lucky enough to land a post as training and working as a general practitioner and a children’s hospice doctor. “Graduating back in 1998, I had no idea how much could be done to support and care for children with life-limiting and life-threatening illnesses.” Ambler explains.

Moving back to Durban, she is overwhelmed by volume of children requiring palliative care.

In 2008, Julia moved back to Durban, her town of birth, with her young family. She felt overwhelmed and daunted by the sheer volume of children requiring palliative care with no established service in the whole province. Since then she was part of establishing these much needed services, first as The Bigshoes Foundation – Durban Branch, and later in 2013 as Umduduzi – Hospice Care for Children. She co-founded Umduduzi, with her life partner and social worker Tracey Brand. 

She consults in both private and public sector.

In her role, she consults in children’s palliative care in both the private and state sectors and sees children at almost every hospital in Durban. As a sessional lecturer in the Department of Paediatrics, Nelson Mandela Medical School, University of KwaZulu-Natal she trains health professionals and medical students. 

Communication skills are essential.

She is also a workshop facilitator for the Medical Protection Society and has become an expert in communication skills training for health professionals. “I believe that the doctor-patient relationship is key to successful, empathetic and compassionate care. Excellent communication skills are essential to achieve this.”

Julia lives in Durban with Tracey and two sons, Luke and Jack.