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Marie Curie Great Daffodil Appeal

– in the Scottish Parliament on 9th March 2016.

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Photo of John Scott John Scott Conservative

The final item of business is a members’ business debate on motion S4M-15287, in the name of Linda Fabiani, on the Marie Curie great daffodil appeal 30th anniversary. The debate will be concluded without any question being put.

Motion debated,

That the Parliament welcomes Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal, which is now in its 30th year and runs throughout March 2016; understands that, since 1986, the Great Daffodil Appeal has raised over £80 million for the charity across the UK; applauds what it sees as the substantial contribution made by over 80 local Marie Curie fundraising groups, such as the East Kilbride Fundraising Group, to the Great Daffodil Appeal every year to support Marie Curie services across Scotland; believes that money raised in Scotland in 2015 funded over 30,000 hours of nursing care and emotional support; understands that this means there is support for over 7,500 people living with a terminal illness, and their carers and families, in their own homes in 31 local authorities and in Marie Curie hospices in Edinburgh and Glasgow; considers that fundraising allows the charity to work in partnership with NHS boards and local authorities to develop new and innovative, integrated services that provide person-centred care; applauds the work of staff and volunteers across Marie Curie who, it considers, work toward its vision of a better life for people and their families living with a terminal illness, and notes calls to encourage as many people as possible to support the campaign this year.

Photo of Linda Fabiani Linda Fabiani Scottish National Party

I am honoured to again host Marie Curie staff and volunteers in our Parliament and to head up the members’ business debate. It is a particularly special year for Marie Curie, as this year marks the 30th anniversary of the great daffodil appeal.

It might seem strange to refer to the annual Marie Curie daffodil appeal as a happy event when one considers the work of the charity, but it is. It gives a sense of us all working together to help our neighbours, friends and family. The yellow spring flower, to me, is a mark of an organisation that—from the volunteer fundraisers and helpers through to the professional and admin staff and the medical and nursing staff—is determined to provide the best possible care and attention to those living with terminal illness and those who love them. As Marie Curie states,

“Every day matters when you’re living with a terminal illness”,

and it wants to help people make the most of the time that they have. Marie Curie fulfils that aim in different ways. “Person-centred” is the technical jargon: it means “the best way possible”, with the wishes of the individual always at the forefront.

The hospice service has hospices in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and they are friendly and welcoming places, whether residential or day care. Annually, care is provided to more than a thousand in-patients in addition to the many thousands of home visits and additional day services.

The helper service currently operates in four local authority areas and provides emotional and practical support to people living with terminal illnesses and their families and carers. The service operates through volunteer helpers, and I am delighted that Marie Curie plans to roll it out across the rest of Scotland.

Everyone knows about the Marie Curie nursing service, which consists of expert nurses working 24/7 in people’s homes right across the country. It is such a vital service, helping people to stay at home, surrounded by those they care about most and where they are most comfortable.

The Marie Curie nurses supported over 4,700 people in 31 local authorities across Scotland in 2014-15, providing over 36,000 visits.

The information and support service offers the Marie Curie support line, which provides confidential help for anyone who has questions, needs support or just wants to talk. The informative website has expanded to become the Marie Curie community, an online forum where experiences can be shared and support given. Again, that shows inclusive working together in care.

Another aspect of the work of Marie Curie is participating in policy formation. It is always constructive and speaks from the broad base of experience.

The starting point is that everyone should have the right to palliative care when they need it, and the campaign run by Marie Curie and other voluntary organisations has raised awareness of the issue with successive Governments and Parliaments, resulting in a much greater understanding of the issues and a greater willingness to talk about them.

It is excellent that Marie Curie gets involved in that work. It shows in so many ways in our Parliament; for example, the recent Health and Sport Committee report “We need to talk about palliative care” recognised the work that the voluntary sector has done in the area, as did the Scottish Government’s vision in the strategic framework for action on palliative and end-of-life care.

People are living longer, with more complex and multiple conditions. More people are dying in hospitals, putting more pressure on acute services. The investment in palliative care in communities provides the care that people want and has the potential to prevent unnecessary admissions and delayed discharges, and to reduce acute care costs.

Provision of palliative care in communities requires partnership working between health and social care and with the voluntary sector.

Not everyone living with a terminal illness in Scotland is getting the care and support that they need. Marie Curie reckons that around 40,000 of the 54,000 people who die each year need some form of palliative care. Around 11,000 people in Scotland miss out on that care every year.

The research evidences inequity of access over palliative care, especially for those over 85, those who live alone, those from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, those from deprived communities and those with terminal conditions other than cancer.

We can make palliative care better, but we can do it only by partnership working between health and social care services and great use of the voluntary sector. As Marie Curie says, palliative care is integrated health and social care if it is done sensitively and properly. Hospital staff know that. Marie Curie gave us a quote from a member of a hospital’s staff that sums up much of this:

“In the past, we’ve had patients fit enough to go home but, by the time the service was available, they weren’t and so they ended up stuck in the hospital until they died”.

That is not what we want for people we love, or indeed for anyone in our society.

There is much to do, but I believe that the will is there to do it and that, if we all work together, we can make it better.

I know that my colleagues have much more to say, so I will close by referring once mores to the 30th anniversary of the great daffodil appeal. In that 30 years, more than £80 million has been raised across the UK and more than 80 local Marie Curie fundraising groups have been set up, including a very active group in East Kilbride, which I represent.

In 2015, the appeal funded more than 30,000 hours of nursing care and emotional support. As a result of the work by fundraisers, there is support in Scotland for more than 7,500 people who are living with a terminal illness and for their carers and families. That work covers 31 local authorities—there is still one to go, but Marie Curie will get there.

The fundraising allows the charity to work in partnership with national health service boards and local authorities to develop the innovative and integrated services that we know are necessary. I applaud the work of staff and volunteers across Marie Curie, who are working towards their vision of a better life for people who are living with a terminal illness and for their families. I encourage as many people as possible, in and outwith the chamber, to support this year’s great daffodil appeal.

Photo of Malcolm Chisholm Malcolm Chisholm Labour

I congratulate Linda Fabiani on once again lodging a motion in support of Marie Curie’s work.

Like Linda Fabiani, I applaud the work of all the volunteers and staff who make such an indispensable and invaluable contribution in the care that they provide. In particular, I endorse and applaud the great daffodil appeal, which is in its 30th year. All over the country, volunteers and fundraising groups are getting behind the daff, using the hashtag #getbehindthedaff to raise awareness on social media. They are taking lots of practical actions too, such as bake sales and quizzes, and dressing up, down or daft for the day. Let us praise them and celebrate their work, as well as that of the volunteers in the helper support project to which Linda Fabiani referred, and the volunteers and staff who work in the many Marie Curie shops. I was pleased, on make a difference day, to work for a day in the shop at Goldenacre in my constituency.

Of course, we also celebrate and acknowledge the work of Marie Curie’s dedicated, motivated and amazingly caring staff. There are two great hospices: one in Edinburgh and one in Glasgow. I know that the one in Edinburgh had 480 admissions last year. Increasingly, however, Marie Curie is working in the community. We are told that 4,700 patients throughout Scotland were supported in the community last year; in Lothian, there were 4,152 community nurse visits and 2,237 clinical nurse specialist visits.

The motion refers to the collaborative work between health boards, local authorities and the third sector, which is increasingly important as more work is done in the community. I hope that the new integration joint boards, which now have responsibility for palliative care, will recognise the vital role of the third sector in that area and in many other areas of work in the community.

The hallmarks of Marie Curie care are that it is holistic and patient centred, and—most important—that the services respond to patients’ choices. I was pleased to see that 95 per cent of patients in Lothian last year were able to die in their place of choice.

The quality of care is central, and the participation of many staff in the research facilitator scheme is a way of enhancing quality and ensuring that staff understand even better patients’ needs and the nature of quality care.

There are other facets of the work. Linda Fabiani referred to the information and support service, and we should also acknowledge Marie Curie’s contribution to policy. Marie Curie has produced important reports such as “Changing the conversation: Care and support for people with a terminal illness now and in the future” and “Triggers for palliative care: Improving access to care for people with diseases other than cancer”, which highlighted discrepancies in provision and the fact that many different groups did not access the palliative care that they needed.

In particular, during the Health and Sport Committee’s inquiry into palliative care, we found out that people with a terminal illness other than cancer often lost out. It was important that Marie Curie’s research fed into the Government’s policy document—the strategic framework for action to which Linda Fabiani referred—as well as the Health and Sport Committee’s report.

Marie Curie has also campaigned on benefits. The Scottish Government has committed to fast-tracking benefits for people who are living with a terminal illness, but Marie Curie is concerned that the carers allowance also needs to be fast-tracked for people who are caring for someone with a terminal illness. I do not think that such a commitment has been made. It is probably difficult for the Minister for Public Health to make such a commitment, but I am sure that she will pass the message on to the responsible minister.

My time is nearly up. I apologise for not being able to go to the reception; I have a very important constituency meeting in west Granton, where the community centre is threatened with closure. I hope that I will be able to stay until the end of the debate, although if there is a large number of speakers perhaps the Presiding Officer will forgive me if I leave slightly early.

Photo of David Torrance David Torrance Scottish National Party

I thank Linda Fabiani for securing the debate. I appreciate the chance to speak about Marie Curie’s great daffodil appeal, which is in its 30th year, and about how the appeal facilitates much of the good work that the organisation carries out. I welcome the Marie Curie representatives and volunteers who are in the gallery.

Marie Curie is a charity like no other. It has been carrying out work for more than 65 years, and during that time it has managed to remain cognisant of how it is perceived and of what people in Scotland and throughout the United Kingdom need from the services that it provides. With that in mind, in 2015 it rebranded itself from Marie Curie Cancer Care to Marie Curie: care and support through terminal illness. The charity supports more than 7,400 terminally ill people in Scotland each year, providing services in 31 local authorities and in two hospices, in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

It is of great importance that we take time today to honour the achievements and continued hard work of Marie Curie staff and the many volunteers who give their time.

Marie Curie is there for people who are living with terminal illness, whether cancer or another illness; it also supports those people’s families. It offers expert care, guidance and support, to help people to get the most from the time that they have left.

The implementation of new information and support services, such as the Marie Curie support line, the information hub on the website and the Marie Curie community online forum, is helping the charity to achieve its goal of raising awareness and maximising the number of people who can access and benefit from the different types of support that are available.

Various initiatives take place annually to raise funds. One of the biggest successes for Marie Curie in raising funds for services is the annual great daffodil appeal. Last year the appeal raised half a million pounds in Scotland alone and more than £8 million nationwide.

Over the past few years, I have been able to join volunteers in my Kirkcaldy constituency in the great daffodil fundraising appeal and I never fail to be impressed by the effort that is put into organising collections. The dedication and commitment of everyone involved in the appeal at different venues in the area is inspiring. I am equally amazed by the generosity of the public towards Marie Curie. The money that was raised in Scotland in 2015 funded more than 30,000 hours of nursing care.

In the past two years, new local Marie Curie fundraising groups have formed in Fife, which do much to raise funds, not only through the great daffodil appeal but through many other events. In my constituency, Kirkcaldy, the fundraising group, which has raised more than £6,000 since its formation, recently held a joint event with the local Marie Curie shop, which I attended. I understand that it was the first such event to be held. It was a great success and £1,000 was raised, which will provide 50 hours of Marie Curie nursing.

I am also looking forward to the great tea party and the mass keep fit sessions that Marie Curie is organising in conjunction with the upcoming beach Highland games in Kirkcaldy to raise funds. I might even be persuaded to take part.

Marie Curie works constantly to enhance its services so that it can deliver the right care. It encourages involvement from patients and feedback from families about issues to do with terminal illness, prognosis, dying, bereavement and symptom control.

Marie Curie will continue the good work that it does to support people who are suffering from a terminal illness, but that is no easy task. Services such as those that I have mentioned, which rely on the dedication and hard work of the many staff and volunteers who work for Marie Curie, are invaluable.

I have talked about Marie Curie’s accomplishments in Scotland, including in my area. I also want to raise awareness of the work that will be necessary if we are to meet the challenges ahead. The future will bring greater demands. People are expected to live longer and to have more complex illnesses. By 2033, some 1.2 million people will be more than 90 years old.

It is important not only to relieve the pain of those who are terminally ill but to ensure that they are provided with quality end-of-life care. We must, in the words of Marie Curie,

“deliver the right care in the right place at the right time.”

I encourage all fellow Scots to wear a daffodil and show support for Marie Curie’s invaluable services.

Photo of Nanette Milne Nanette Milne Conservative

I, too, thank Linda Fabiani for lodging this motion on an issue that we discuss every year. Of course, this year is special, given that we are celebrating Marie Curie’s 30th anniversary of its great daffodil appeal.

At last week’s Scottish Conservative Party conference, where Marie Curie had a stall, Richard Meade of the organisation told my researcher of his disappointment at many members’ business debates in the Parliament being so badly attended and supported. I very much share that sentiment, and others in the chamber will no doubt agree. Mr Meade then went on to say that they are actually occasions when we do not have party political point scoring but demonstrate why we came into public life in the first place. I think that many members will agree that these debates are some of the most constructive and thoughtful that take place in the chamber—and, indeed, this particular debate is proving to be one such.

I take this opportunity to put on record my thanks to Richard Meade and his team for showcasing the work of Marie Curie to MSPs and the wider public. With a dedicated outfit who understand that cancer is not something that should be ignored or hidden away, Marie Curie is at the forefront of that important message.

Recently Marie Curie has been very active in highlighting the importance of palliative care and starting the conversation about it early in a patient’s journey through a non-curable health condition—not just cancer but long-term progressive conditions such as heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It has long promoted the need to speak openly about death and dying in an attempt to change the culture in this country, where such hugely important issues are swept under the carpet or ignored completely. As a highly respected organisation, it tends to be listened to, and it could have a big impact on changing attitudes to end-of-life issues.

I have often said that I am not a huge fan of badges and ribbons to mark different charities and their events—although I stress that that does not mean that I do not support such causes—but there are two whose emblems I do wear. The first is Poppyscotland’s red poppy in November, and the other is Marie Curie’s bright yellow daffodil at this time of year. Such simple and easily recognised emblems have a significant impact on people’s willingness to contribute to very worthwhile causes, and many people have benefited over the years as a result.

I support Marie Curie and wear the daffodil proudly because of the remarkable palliative care that it provides to people across the United Kingdom. In the north-east of Scotland, which I represent, people are now cared for in a way that I did not see when I was a young hospital doctor. Dedicated Marie Curie nurses now go into people’s homes, and they understand the needs of the thousands of people in Scotland who live with a terminal illness. They know how to support them and their families during such a stressful time, they comfort them and they often enable them to gain some enjoyment during their last days and to experience the good death to which we would all aspire.

Hospices in Edinburgh and Glasgow look after people from all walks of life, of all ages, from different backgrounds and of all creeds. Many of us will have seen at first hand in these hospices the dedication to loved ones shown by staff who provide not only the necessary medical care but an understanding of the emotional support that relatives and friends need in end-of-life situations.

In 2014-15, over 1,600 people in north-east Scotland alone benefited from almost 10,000 hours of care from community nurses; a total of 21 Marie Curie volunteers supported 54 people through the organisation’s helper service; and 85 per cent of Marie Curie patients in NHS Grampian and 90 per cent in Tayside were able to die in their place of choice. I think that we will agree that such a level of care is remarkable and outstanding.

My researcher tells me that Frank Sinatra had more farewell tours than anyone else in show business, and then he had umpteen comebacks. This is not my final speech, but I assure members that I will not be making any comebacks to this chamber as an MSP. However, one thing that I will be doing is retaining my connection with the cross-party group on cancer, which I am sure will mean my continued support for and involvement with Marie Curie. It is a charity that demonstrates the very best of the voluntary sector.

Photo of Liam McArthur Liam McArthur Liberal Democrat

I, too, congratulate my good friend Linda Fabiani on securing the debate. I am happy to confirm that I am going to get behind the Fab in getting behind the daff.

As well as allowing us an opportunity to acknowledge the phenomenal work done by Marie Curie nurses, staff and volunteers on behalf of terminally ill people and their families, this debate enables us to focus on the challenges that they face going forward. Marie Curie is no doubt a victim of its own success because, as Linda Fabiani reminded us, estimates suggest that around 11,000 people who need palliative care in Scotland miss out.

With annual death rates due to rise by 13 per cent over the next 25 years, the risk is that the numbers missing out on the end-of-life care that they need will increase. In that context, it is encouraging that the Government’s action plan for palliative and end-of-life care envisages that by 2021 everyone who needs palliative care will get it. For that to happen, however, we will need to see greater priority given to the issue by health and social care partnerships, as well as firm commitments from the incoming Scottish Government after May.

We are already seeing an inequality of access. Marie Curie points in its briefing to the difficulties faced by particular groups: those over 85, those living alone, ethnic minorities and those from deprived communities. As Malcolm Chisholm testified earlier, disparities also exist between those affected by cancer and those with other terminal conditions such as dementia, motor neurone disease and heart failure; sufferers of those conditions seem to be overrepresented in the numbers of people not accessing end-of-life care.

That in part might reflect the public perception still that Marie Curie is for people affected by cancer. However, as others speakers in the debate have said, that perception is wrong. I hope that that perception is beginning to change, and I know that local volunteers in Orkney are working hard to achieve that. However, there is still some way to go.

As well as awareness raising, local volunteers are part of a remarkable fundraising effort on behalf of the Marie Curie charity. The amounts raised in Orkney have been a testimony to the generosity of the local public and a recognition of the importance of good-quality, widely available palliative care. After all, there can be few people in Orkney or, indeed, any community who do not know of somebody who has been affected in that regard. Orkney has a population that is ageing faster than the national average, living longer with more complex conditions and dispersed over a number of islands and rural parishes, so it is clear that its challenges are likely only to increase, as is the need for funding to meet those challenges.

That is why I want to pay particular tribute to those who volunteer their time to help raise those funds. Barbara Todd deserves particular mention for her heroic efforts. Barbara is due to step down in May as the local chair of Marie Curie in Orkney, but I know that she will remain closely involved and very active. I give a special mention, too, to Terri Paton, who I hope has been able to make it to Parliament this evening, and to Linda Lennie, who I am sure has made it along, assuming that she has escaped the clutches of Marks & Spencer. It is great to have a strong Orkney presence in the public gallery and at the reception later this evening.

I also put on record again my gratitude to Dr Andrew Trevitt and his colleagues for the commitment that they have shown in delivering the palliative service in Orkney. That is a relatively recent development, and it leaves Shetland—sadly—as the only area without such a service.

At the time when I spoke in the Marie Curie debate last year, only patients in the west mainland of Orkney were able to access Marie Curie support. I am delighted to confirm to Parliament that access has been expanded to cover all of the Orkney mainland, with three Marie Curie nurses now in place. In time, I hope that constituents living in the inner and outer isles might benefit similarly—I think that fairness demands no less. It is vital that capacity is built and momentum maintained.

The service fits with not just the palliative care strategy that I mentioned earlier but the clinical strategy. In that sense, I hope that it can become more firmly embedded in the near future through a partnership between health and social care and the voluntary sector. The number of patients in Orkney who have benefited so far is relatively small, but the impact has been significant. Patients and their families are hugely positive about what the support gives them, which I believe speaks volumes.

Again, I congratulate Linda Fabiani on allowing us to have this debate. To all the Marie Curie nurses, staff and volunteers, I offer my sincere thanks for the exceptional work that they do in allowing people to die with dignity and in the place of their choice.

Photo of Patricia Ferguson Patricia Ferguson Labour

I, too, congratulate my colleague Linda Fabiani on securing the debate, which is an annual event. The Marie Curie Glasgow hospice is based in my constituency and I feel honoured and humbled to have had the opportunity to visit it on a great many occasions. It is one of those places that you always leave feeling much better than you did when you entered, because there is such a feeling of calm, joy and peace and of enthusiasm for the work that is done there. I pay tribute to all the Marie Curie staff who help to make that atmosphere and ethos so obvious to everyone who enters the hospice.

We are celebrating the great daffodil appeal, which is in its 30th year. It is worth thinking about the amount of effort, enthusiasm and initiative that went into establishing that wonderful idea in the first place.

One of the great things about Marie Curie is that it has allowed so many people to leave this world in the manner of their choosing, but I want to speak a little about those who remain behind. In 1992, a young man called Alan Young was bereaved. Unfortunately his mum, Margo, died while Alan was still at school. Margo had been a patient at the Marie Curie hospice in Glasgow prior to her death. As an adult, Alan Young established a foundation in his mother’s memory, the Margo Young Foundation, which creates and organises events to raise money to go towards the work of Marie Curie hospices.

For example, last year, the foundation organised a 99-hole golf event. I find it difficult to get my head round how that worked, but I understand that the golfers set out at 3.30 am in order to play 99 holes over five and a half courses, and that they completed it by 9 pm. In the process, they raised a great deal of money for the Marie Curie hospice. In conversation with the Margo Young Foundation, Marie Curie has set up a child bereavement project, to recognise that some children who are bereaved at a very early age of their parents, a sibling or another loved one find it difficult to deal with the consequences of that. That is a very fitting memorial to Margo Young. All praise to Alan and everyone who works with him to raise the money that makes all that possible.

In the main, it is the fundraising efforts of volunteers that make all of the work of Marie Curie possible. I am fortunate to have two Marie Curie shops in my constituency—one in Springburn and one in Maryhill—both of which are extremely popular locally and which raise a great deal of money for the charity. The work of Marie Curie volunteers is second to none, and long may that continue.

We have heard about the disparity in palliative care. In last year’s debate, I perhaps majored on that issue. It is incumbent on every one of us who has an interest in Marie Curie and its work to help by raising our voices and using all the opportunities that we have to explain to the wider communities that we work and operate in that Marie Curie hospices and palliative care are not just for cancer sufferers and that they are for anyone with a life-limiting condition. If we can do one thing to make that point clear—perhaps through our websites or our opportunities to speak to groups of individuals and communities in our constituencies—we would be helping not just Marie Curie but everyone who could benefit from its services.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

I invite the minister, Maureen Watt, to close the debate on behalf of the Government.

Photo of Maureen Watt Maureen Watt Scottish National Party

I, too, thank Linda Fabiani for again leading a debate on Marie Curie’s great daffodil appeal. As has been said, this year marks the 30th anniversary of the appeal. Marie Curie’s staff and volunteers must be really proud of an appeal that started 30 years ago and is still going strong. I acknowledge and give special thanks to people across Scotland for their donations to the great daffodil appeal over the years and for helping to make it such a success.

I would also like to commend the many dedicated volunteers across Scotland—some of whom have made it to Parliament this evening—for their hard work in supporting the appeal and for the many other fundraising events that they organise each year.

Every March, around 80 groups around Scotland raise funds for the appeal. The success of Marie Curie’s staff and volunteers in getting us to don ridiculous hats, tabards and the like is legendary. Their efforts are very worth while, and if somebody can get David Torrance to take part in a keep-fit session, I hope that they have a camera to hand.

The need for a clear vision of the future of palliative and end-of-life care in Scotland is widely shared by the Scottish Government, national health service boards and everyone who is committed to the delivery of high-quality end-of-life and palliative care. That is why the Scottish Government published the “Strategic Framework for Action on Palliative and End of Life Care” last December. The framework sets out a simple vision for the next five years, which is that, by 2021, everyone in Scotland who needs palliative care will have access to it. It aims to ensure that access to palliative care

“is available to all who can benefit from it, regardless of age, gender, diagnosis, social group or location.”

It is important that a number of members highlighted that.

Within the framework are the Government’s 10 commitments, which support improvement in the delivery of palliative and end-of-life care. They address issues such as our reluctance to talk about death, the commissioning of integrated services, and the capture and use of data that will tell us where we have got to and what we still need to do.

There are several challenges that need to be addressed if we are to make headway towards ensuring that access to palliative and end-of-life care is available to all who can benefit from it. If we are to understand the care needs of the people of Scotland, we must continue to listen to what they have to say. They have told us that they want to plan care that supports them in identifying their preferences at every stage of their care, including when time becomes shorter, whether that be in hospital, in a hospice or at home.

That is why collaborative care planning, including anticipatory care planning, is now central to health and care in Scotland. Linda Fabiani mentioned policy collaboration, which Marie Curie is involved in. It is vital that we learn from those organisations that carry out such vital work, which include Marie Curie and other third sector organisations.

Scotland needs a trained workforce to deliver palliative and end-of-life care so that informal carers, family members and volunteers can have the support, education and guidance that they need, and we know that Marie Curie is excellent at that.

Training and education will be key to the implementation of the framework. NHS Education for Scotland is recruiting three regional practice education co-ordinators to work across the NHS and social care services to support that work. A new short-life working group is being established to produce guidance to support health and social care partnerships with the development of their strategic commissioning plans for palliative and end-of-life services. By the summer of this year, the 10 commitments will have informed and been reflected in implementation and improvement plans.

We need services that are co-ordinated so that the people of Scotland have access to the highest standards of care in the right place and at the right time. The legislative changes that are being introduced with the integration of health and social care will improve people’s quality of life and improve the effectiveness of the whole NHS and social care system. We can achieve improvements only through working with all the people who matter and are committed to making such care a reality.

Marie Curie has a wealth of experience in palliative and end-of-life care, and we value the work that it does in providing person-centred, safe and effective care to people in the final stages of their lives and their families. It was important, too, that David Torrance and Patricia Ferguson mentioned the support for families, particularly the child bereavement programme that Patricia Ferguson mentioned.

Looking ahead, I have no doubt that this year’s great daffodil appeal will be a great success and that Marie Curie will continue to work with us in partnership, delivering same high standards of palliative and end-of-life care to people all over Scotland. I encourage fellow MSPs to stop by the Marie Curie stall and speak to Richard Meade and his colleagues, if they have not already done so.

Everyone in the chamber today will agree that enabling people to die well, and supporting those who love them, is something that is worth doing—and worth doing well. Every day, Marie Curie is leading the way in that.

Meeting closed at 17:45.