Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care (SPPC)

What was the issue you were addressing or working on?

Palliative care is not just “terminal care” over a few weeks or days.   Palliative care approaches are relevant to people living with advance disease, regardless of length or clarity of prognosis.

Around 38 000 people with palliative care needs die in Scotland each year and a much larger number are living with advanced progressive disease.  Most are older people.  Around 30% of acute bed days are used by people in their last year of life, and over 50% of people will die in hospital, although most people express a preference to die at home.  How Scotland cares for those approaching the end of life is therefore an issue of major and universal significance for the Scottish population and has a major impact on how Scotland uses scarce healthcare resources.

Palliative care is an integral part of achieving the transformational change (and shift of resources) envisioned in Reshaping Care for Older People.  Regardless of the success of preventative strategies death and dying is inevitable.  And unless we get this part of the trajectory right we are likely to continue to commit huge health care resources to providing care in the acute sector for people whose preference would be for care elsewhere.

Good quality palliative and end of life care is fundamental to delivering the safe, effective and person-centred care described in the Dementia Strategy and the Healthcare Quality Strategy.

Research indicates that patients who have been identified and placed  on a palliative care register are more likely to have their needs/wishes met, for example they are more likely to die at home (75%) as opposed to those who are not on the register (22% die at home). Currently, most people on a register have a cancer diagnosis but palliative care is relevant to people with any advanced life threatening disease.  References: Murray S.A, Boyd K, Sheikh A, Thomas K, Higginson, IJ. Developing primary palliative care. BMJ. 2004; 329:1056.

What you did?

The Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care is the representative organisation for palliative care in Scotland.

We have 54 members across statutory, voluntary, charitable and professional organisations.

We develop and promote good practice and develop and support the implementation of policy.  The Scottish Government’s action plan on palliative and end of life care Living and Dying Well is based on policy development undertaken by SPPC.

What were the outcomes - benefits or otherwise?

The Partnership’s website hosts a range of relevant resources .

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Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief is an initiative of SPPC to promote more openness about death, dying and bereavement in Scotland.  Person-centred care is dependent on public and professionals being able to think and talk about these issues. For more info see

Contacts - to find out more
0131 229 0538