Scotland parliament debates latest research

15th January 2020

On 8th January 2020 the Scottish Parliament held a debate on research looking into projections for where people will die in Scotland in 2040.

The research was a joint initiative, which partnered with Marie Curie, the University of Edinburgh and the Cicely Saunders Institute which was undertaken throughout 2018-19.

The full research paper was published in December in the BMC Palliative Care journal: here

The findings showed that if current trends in where people die continue, then by 2040 two-thirds of all Scots could die at home, in a care home or a hospice. Currently less than half do. However, this is very unlikely to happen without substantial investment in community-based care including care home capacity. Without this investment hospital deaths could rise to 37,089 (57%) of all deaths by 2040.

Seven MSPs spoke in the debate including Miles, Mark MacDonald MSP (Ind), Brian Whittle MSP (Con), Emma Harper (SNP), Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP (LibDem), Dave Stewart MSP (Labour) and the debate was closed by the Minister for Public Health, Joe Fitzpatrick MSP. MSPs praised the work of Marie Curie across Scotland, as well as its role in this research and its partners at Edinburgh University and Cicely Saunders Institute. The debate highlighted the research findings but also focused on the recommendations and priorities coming out of the research:

Make care of terminally ill people and those at the end of life a much higher priority and support sustainable funding of services;

Invest in community-based care including care home capacity;

Invest in and upskill a community health and social care workforce through education, training and valuing of their work;

Hold a public debate on death, dying and bereavement.

The Minister in responding for the Scottish Government praised the work of Marie Curie, University of Edinburgh and Cicely Saunders Institute. He highlighted the contribution the research has made and highlighted the need for more to be done to support social care to meet the concerns set out. He also stressed the importance of training and support for all staff working in care settings and looking after terminally ill people.  

The debate was covered on BBC online and streamed live on the BBC and on Parliament TV and covered by social media channels.  

A full transcript of the debate will be published in the Scottish Parliament’s Official Report, which you can find here.