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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.