SNP MSP, Bob Doris, for Glasgow and deputy convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee has welcomed the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Shona Robison MSP’s announcement of a major investment in palliative care research.
The investment is supporting Marie Curie in its largest ever research in partnership with the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MND Association), totalling £1,425,000.
The £1.4m will see the Scottish Government provide £225,000 and leverage in partnership funding from Marie Curie of £1m and the MND Association up to £200,000.
The cash will fund key research priorities identified by carers, health and social care professionals, and people with terminal illnesses. With the Scottish Government currently updating its palliative care strategy and with Bob currently participating in a Health Committee Inquiry on palliative care, the investment is both timely and welcome.
Bob commented: “We want everyone in Scotland to have access to high-quality palliative care. With an ageing population, that is challenging, and there is much we need to improve. However, despite these significant challenges research has shown that Scotland is at the forefront internationally at delivering palliative support at end of life. I am delighted that we are taking steps to build on that success and to tackle the challenges we face as a society. The Scottish Government’s investment in palliative care research - in partnership with both Marie Curie and the MND Association - will make a significant contribution in informing us on how best to develop services.
“The need for proper end of life care is one that will only increase as our population ages and I am pleased to see that the research has been informed by the priorities of carers, family members who do so much to provide loved one’s an end of life with dignity.
“I have visited the Marie Curie hospice in Springburn on a number of occasions and have witnessed the exceptional service they provide. Together with the MND Association they are ideal partners and I have high hopes for our partnership.
“The Government has committed to a new Strategic Framework for Action on palliative care and we need a renewed focus on measuring end-of-life care as part of overall health and social wellbeing. This research will help us in that task.
Professor Bill Noble, Medical Director at Marie Curie said: “Palliative and end of life care research is woefully underfunded, which is why this £1,425,000 funding pot, with at least £450,000 for researchers in Scotland, is so important.
“The research it funds will address some of the most important concerns of carers, health and social care professionals, and people with terminal illnesses.
“This could include studies on how palliative care services could serve Scotland better, helping the sector ensure that everyone who needs palliative care gets it, including nearly 11,000 Scots who currently miss out.
Funds from the Chief Scientist will be matched by Marie Curie (total fund of up to £450,000) and applications must be led by a principal investigator who is based in Scotland. Applicants to this fund must submit proposals that address research priorities identified in the Palliative and end of life care Priority Setting Partnership (PeolcPSP), which asked carers, health and social care professionals, and people with terminal illnesses what the unanswered questions in palliative and end of life care are.
Funds from MND Association will be matched by Marie Curie and to be eligible for this part of the fund (total fund of up to £400,000) proposals must show relevance to people living with MND and draw on the associated priorities from the PeolcPSP.
The remaining £575,000 of the fund, provided by Marie Curie, will be awarded to proposals that focus on any one, or combination of, the 83 priorities identified by the PeolcPSP.
Applications are welcome from scientists, clinicians or healthcare workers in UK universities, medical schools, hospitals and some research institutions.
The deadline for submitting outline applications is 14 January 2016 and the application form and guidance for applicants can be found on the Marie Curie website . Following initial peer review, full applications will be invited in April 2016. Funding decisions with committee feedback will be available in autumn 2016.
Palliative and end of life care Priority Setting Partnership
The Palliative and end of life care Priority Setting Partnership with the James Lind Alliance was initiated by Marie Curie in 2013 and sought to identify the research priorities that are most important to the end users of research – patients, carers and health care professionals. It was a joint project co-funded by ten organisations, including the Chief Scientist Office and the MND Association.
The PeolcPSP received responses from 1,403 people through an online survey. The data was then analysed to identify interventional questions. These questions were combined and checked against existing systematic reviews and guidelines to determine whether they were already sufficiently answered. This created a longlist of 83 unanswered questions which were prioritised in a second survey and further in a workshop including patients, carers and health care professionals. The results of this survey were published and the final report launched at the Palliative and end of life care Research Summit on 15th January 2015.
Marie Curie is the UK’s leading charity for people with any terminal illness. The charity helps people living with a terminal illness and their families make the most of the time they have together by delivering expert hands-on care, emotional support, research and guidance.
Marie Curie employs more than 2,700 nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals, and with its nine hospices around the UK, is the largest provider of hospice beds outside the NHS.