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SPPC Annual Conference 2022: Annie's Story

Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh

Monday 30 May 2022

The SPPC team is really looking forward to welcoming you back to a face-to-face conference after a 2½ year hiatus.

Featuring a mix of high quality speakers and delegate interaction the conference will provide an opportunity to:

  • Pause to reflect on the past 2 years
  • Hear about new approaches and practice which offer hope for improvement
  • Hear challenging perspectives and energising inspiration
  • Input to the development of the forthcoming Scottish Government strategy for palliative and end of life care
  • Catch up with colleagues and make new connections.

Population Health

The event will be broadly framed by exploring how a population health approach can improve people’s experiences of living with serious illness, dying and bereavement. Topics will include aspects of organisation and delivery (planning/commissioning, unscheduled care, tacking inequities, use of outcomes) as well as practice-related topics (dementia, carer support, psychological approaches, wellbeing, spiritual care). The day will also include philosophy and new drama (see below).

Annie’s Story

Woven through and unfurled over the course of the day, will be Annie’s story – grounding the bigger picture in the individual and the personal.


Download the full programme HERE


Approved by the Federation of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom for 5 category 1 (external) CPD credits.

Stay a While and Chat

At the end of the formal programme drinks will be available in the beautiful surroundings of the RCPE Great Hall (donations bar).


You can register for the conference here: Conference Registration. If you have any problems with registration, please email

Tickets costs £175, with a reduced rate for £135 for employees of member organisations. (A list of member organisations is available here: SPPC members.)

We regret that no refund can be made after the 30 April 2022 although a substitute delegate is always welcome, but please notify us of the change and any special requirements.

In the event that COVID-19 prevents us from offering the conference on a face to face basis we will move elements of the event online, and aim to offer a partial refund.

Call for Exhibition Stands / Publication Displays:

This year we are delighted to offer you an opportunity to exhibit at our event. The exhibitor area at the conference provides generous socially distanced space for exhibitions and displays with direct access to the catering area, seating and breakout rooms.

If you are at all interested in bringing along your exhibition/ display stands, please contact Pauline Ellison for further details and a proposal form for completion. Email:


Please note that the closing date for submissions for exhibitions is Friday 20 May 2022.

Please note that there will not be a poster exhibition at the conference – the SPPC Virtual Poster Exhibition and Showcase will take place in October 2022.


Fliss Murtagh

Professor of Palliative Care, Hull York Medical School

Fliss qualified in medicine in the UK in 1986. She worked in General Practice for almost 10 years, then undertook specialist training in palliative medicine. She is now Professor of Palliative Care at Hull York Medical School, University of Hull, and Visiting Professor of Palliative Care at the Cicely Saunders Institute, King’s College London, UK. She is also a National Institute for Health Research Senior Investigator.

She is experienced in providing palliative care to a wide range of people with far advanced disease and their families, and has researched and published extensively on palliative and end-of-life care needs and services, especially for older people and those with advanced kidney disease. She is also experienced in research methods: cohort and cross sectional surveys, psychometrics, implementation and use of outcomes, especially the Integrated Palliative care Outcome Scale (see

Fliss’ publications are available here: Fliss Murtagh's Publications



Michael Cholbi

Chair in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh

Michael is an ethicist who has published widely on death and dying. His books include Suicide: The Philosophical Dimensions (2011), Immortality and the Philosophy of Death (2015), Global Views on Choosing to End Life (2017), Grief: A Philosophical Guide (2022), New Directions in the Ethics of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia (2nd edition expected, 2022), and the Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Suicide (expected 2023), as well as the textbook Exploring the Philosophy of Death and Dying: Classic and Contemporary Perspectives (2020). He is the founder of the International Association of the Philosophy of Death and Dying, the former director of the California Center for Ethics and Policy, and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.


Ivor Williams

Lead for End-of-Life Care at the Institute of Global Health Innovation and Helix Centre, Imperial College London.

Ivor Williams is a designer dedicated to transforming our relationship to life, death and loss. He is Lead for End-of-Life Care at the Institute of Global Health Innovation and Helix Centre at Imperial College London, leading cross-functional teams of designers, developers, academics, clinicians and policy analysts. He previously co-founded the mental health start-up Humane Engineering and created the NHS-approved music therapy app, Cove. He is an advisor to start-ups and venture groups including Zinc VC and other organisations such as End Well and is a visiting lecturer at Imperial College London. In 2018, he was named a New Radical by innovation foundation Nesta and the Observer newspaper for "pioneering a human-centric approach to the experience of dying, bereavement and grief".





Kirsty Boyd

Reader in Palliative Care, Usher Institute, University of Edinburgh

Kirsty was consultant in Palliative Medicine in NHS Lothian for over 20 years and leads the multidisciplinary Primary Palliative Care Research Group (PPCRG) at the University of Edinburgh. The PPCRG conducts research and promotes service redesign and educational initiatives that aim to realise the potential of palliative care to be delivered by primary care teams working in the community and care homes, and by clinicians in diverse hospital teams. They use mixed methods research to explore delivery of services and people’s experiences of illness, treatment and care. They are committed to effective public-patient involvement including with people from underserved or minority groups.

Recent research evaluated provision of unscheduled care in Scotland for people in the last year of life. The PPCRG identified key challenges and inequalities through combining national datasets and qualitative interviews with patients, families and bereaved carers. Their work on enhanced anticipatory care planning (ACP) is complementary.








Mark Evans

Scottish Government Spiritual Care Advisor & National Operational Lead for Spiritual Care. Head of Spiritual Care & Bereavement Lead NHS Fife.

Mark started his working life as a staff nurse within Surgical High dependency and ITU in NHS Lothian and has since worked in a variety of health and social care settings. Mark is an Ordained Deacon with the Church of Scotland and is President of the Diaconate Council.

Mark is Head of Spiritual Care & Bereavement Lead for NHS Fife where he has strategic and operational responsibility for the development and delivery of Spiritual, Religious and Bereavement Care and is an Honorary Lecture at St. Andrews University School of Medicine.

Nationally, Mark has acted as an advisor for the Scottish Governments ‘Shaping Bereavement Care’ Framework, the Death Certification “Advisory Group” and “Implementation Group, “Confirmation of Death” Guidance and is a member of the National Bereavement Coordinators Group and the Scottish Bereavement Charter Oversight group. Mark has recently been appointed the Scottish Government's first Spiritual Care Advisor and National Operational Lead for Spiritual Care.

Michael Loynd

Macmillan Clinical Programme Director, End of Life Care Together

Michael currently leads a service transformation for those in the last year of life in Highland. This involves taking a population value approach through organisational partnership to improve outcomes for people at this time. The End of Life Care Together partnership seeks to deliver and demonstrate this approach via a triple value aim: value to the individual prioritising the outcomes that matter to them; value to the wider community providing equity of access to services and supports; and value in how collective resource is assigned and allocated to this population.

Michael’s professional background is in nursing as an Advanced Macmillan Nurse and also has a clinical research background with both academic and vocational experience in this area.

Maggie Ellis

Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the School of Psychology & Neuroscience, University of St Andrews

Maggie has been working with and researching the lives and experiences of people with dementia, their family members and professional caregivers for over twenty years. She develops teaching, training and consultancy in dementia care, based on her own research. Her research portfolio includes the development of positive interventions to support people to live well with dementia and to maintain and create relationships. Maggie’s main research focus is on identifying and utilising the spared communication skills in people at very advanced stages of dementia. As such, she worked with her collaborator, Professor Arlene Astell, to develop Adaptive Interaction, a method of supporting meaningful communication between caregivers and people with very advanced dementia. Adaptive Interaction is a nonverbal technique that supports the building of interpersonal connections and relationships using movements, sounds and eye gaze. This work has generated much interest in the fields of both dementia research and care. Maggie has received personal invitations from the editors of the Journal of Dementia Care and the Journal of Counselling and Healthcare to write articles on this research. She has also given invited talks to multidisciplinary audiences from Dublin to Toronto. She has recently co-authored a book on Adaptive Interaction;

Kenny Steele

Co-Chair, End of Life Care Together partnership and CEO Highland Hospice.


Kenny is Chief Executive of Highland Hospice and has served in this role since 2011. He was Chair of Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care between 2012-18. He has a first degree in Ecological Science and spent much of his career in the environment sector before completing a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and moving into health sector management.
The focus of Highland Hospice strategy is to enable wider community involvement in the delivery of health and social care. This recognises that the top down model of health and social care will not be sufficient to meet future challenges. This strategy has seen the introduction of Project ECHO, development of community organised Care at Home and significant growth of volunteering.
More recently, leading ‘End of Life Care Together’, a partnership approach to support population health improvement for end of life care has been a primary focus.


Juliet Spiller

Consultant in Palliative Medicine, Marie Curie Hospice Edinburgh

Juliet is a Consultant in Palliative Medicine based at Marie Curie Hospice in Edinburgh. She has had an interest in the psychological aspects of palliative medicine since her medical student days taking every opportunity to collaborate and initiate research over the years into depression, delirium and more recently ACT. In recent years, Juliet has collaborated on several ACT in palliative care research projects, and regularly uses ACT in her clinical practice.


David Gillanders

Head of Clinical Psychology, University of Edinburgh

David is a clinical psychologist, trainer and researcher at the University of Edinburgh. He leads a programme of research and training into Acceptance and Commitment Therapy across different health conditions, as well as with health and social care professional staff.


Dr Anne Finucane

Marie Curie Senior Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh

Anne is a Marie Curie Senior Research Fellow in Clinical Psychology at the University of Edinburgh, and Research Lead for Marie Curie Hospice Edinburgh. Anne has a PhD in Psychology and a strong track record in palliative care research design and implementation. She has undertaken ACT training with Dr Russ Harris, Dr Robyn Walser and Prof. Kelly Wilson and continues to learn about the value of ACT both for use in palliative care and for personal interest.




Cicely and David


(extract from a brand new one-act play)

David Tasma is dying from cancer in post-war London, estranged from home and family. A brief, intense relationship with his social worker, Cicely Saunders, sparks an idea that changes the face of modern end of life care.

This play, written by Cicely Saunders’ biographer David Clark and produced by one her former colleagues, Jo Hockley, is coming to the Edinburgh Fringe in August. In this final session of the conference we are given a tantalizing glimpse into the first scene. Read more about the play here.






The event will observe SG public health guidance/advice. The current rules on attending an event at RCPE can be read here.

In the event that COVID-19 prevents us from offering the conference on a face to face basis we will move elements of the event online, and aim to offer a partial refund.

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