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To Absent Friends: Evaluation Report

November 2017 saw another successful edition of To Absent Friends, a people's festival of storytelling and remembrance. An evaluation report of the festival, based on feedback from event organisers and attendees, is now available.

The evaluation concludes that:

  • The festival helps build communities, addressing social isolation and loneliness. Attendee feedback shows how much they valued the community aspects of the festival.
  • A little money goes a long way. Small grants act as an impetus for activity among groups who otherwise might not participate.
  • Dedicated staff time is valuable. Extra resource at the SPPC has increased activity and secured more publicity.
  • The festival is connecting with disadvantaged groups. There is an appetite for this kind of event within a community development framework.
  • Regulars return to the festival. Many groups participate each year, making the festival sustainable, and strengthening community connections.
  • Witnessing successful events helps inspire others. Potential event organisers can now be pointed to many different event concepts that work.
  • Concerts are a popular concept. Attendances at concerts were higher than at other types of events.
  • Media profile could be higher. The grassroots nature of the festival means local media coverage for individual events is easier than securing a national profile.
  • Different approaches work for different audiences. Careful management of expectations and handling of sensitivities means events can be created that work for a wide range of audiences and situations.


A downloadable copy of the report is available here.


Public Health Priorities for Scotland

The Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care has submitted views for consideration in the public engagement exercise on Public Health Priorities for Scotland.

The engagement exercise is being undertaken by the Scottish Government and COSLA.

The SPPC response proposes that:

  • Public Health Reform discussions should be reframed to talk not just of improving ‘health’ but of improving ‘health and wellbeing’.
  • “Adjusting to the needs of an ageing population” should be a Public Health Priority.

The full submission is available here: SPPC submission relating to the development of Public Health Priorities for Scotland.

Mapping the progress and impacts of public health approaches to palliative care: a scoping review

A group from the University of Edinburgh, Strathclyde University, La Trobe University, Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care and St Columba’s Hospice Edinburgh, are undertaking a scoping review relating to public health palliative care.

The scoping review aims to:

  • Map the wide variety of activities and programmes that could be classified as ‘public health palliative care’
  • Explore the impact of these activities where impact has been measure
More information about the review is available here:

Having undertaken a search of formally published literature, a grey literature search is now underway.

This will include write-ups/reports/evaluations of work that could be considered public health or health promoting palliative care - ie work aiming to prevent social difficulties around death, dying and bereavement, that involve working with communities or wider society. (Check out the inclusion criteria here.)

If you've been involved in writing up relevant work, even if it has not been formally published, we'd be interested to see it for potential inclusion in the review. Please email Rebecca by 9 February 2018.

Many thanks!

Major new conference announced

In April, the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care and Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief are hosting a major national conference to showcase and explore current thinking and practice relating to public health palliative care in Scotland.

Palliative Care sector raises concerns over Brexit

The Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care has written to David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, raising concerns over the impact that withdrawal from the EU may have on the care of the dying in Scotland.

The open letter, signed on behalf of the Partnership’s governing council, calls on Mr Davis to recognise the part that EU health and social care staff play in end of life care in Scotland, and to pay due attention to sustaining staff numbers. There is little capacity to absorb any detrimental impacts of Brexit, the letter states.

The letter points to research that reveals Brexit could have a disruptive impact on care of the dying in Scotland:

  • Uncertainty over Brexit has already reduced the numbers of EU nurses registering to practice in the UK (Nursing and Midwifery Council)
  • 4% of nurses and midwives in NHS Scotland are non-British EU nationals, as are 1400 doctors (Scottish Government)
  • 6% of the care home workforce are non-British EU nationals. (Scottish Care)

It also expresses concern over the future of EU research funding and cross-border collaboration into the improvement of end of life care. Clinical medicine and biosciences research received well over £200 million in EU research funding in 2014/15.

The Westminster Government is also urged to ensure that any new arrangements between the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the European Medicines Agency do not result in delayed patient access to new drugs.

“The importance of good end of life care cannot be overstated,” says Mark Hazelwood, Chief Executive of the Scottish Partnership of Palliative Care, “It is central to a caring and compassionate society. Any negative impact on staff or funding caused by exiting the European Union will bring great difficulties to a sector that already faces significant challenges, and could cause unnecessary suffering to people who are at their most vulnerable.”

Update: the SPPC has received a response from Jackie Doyle Price MP.


The Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care brings together over 50 organisations involved in providing palliative and end of life care in Scotland. Membership of the Partnership spans organisations employing health and social care professionals in hospitals, social care services, primary care, hospices and other charities. The Partnership exists to improve people’s experiences of declining health, death, dying and bereavement.

The full text of the letter can be found here: Open letter to Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

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