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Marie Curie partnership with Chief Scientist Office funds vital research into care for terminally ill patients in Scotland

Marie Curie partnership with Chief Scientist Office funds vital research into care for terminally ill patients in Scotland

23rd March 2017

Marie Curie and the Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office (CSO) have today announced the funding of two new research studies looking at care for people living with terminal illnesses.

It is hoped that both of the studies, which are led by researchers at the University of Edinburgh, will directly inform the provision of services for those affected by terminal illness in Scotland.

Professor Scott Murray at the University of Edinburgh will investigate the challenges involved in providing out of hours care and support services – such as helpline support and GP or nurse visits – to terminally ill patients in Scotland. The study  will look at how such services are currently provided in Scotland and provide evidence to inform a proposed redesign that, it is hoped, will deliver a truly  24/7 care and support service for Scottish patients.

The second of the two studies, led by Professor Marie Fallon, St Columba’s Hospice Chair of Palliative Medicine and Dr Barry Laird Clinician Scientist in Palliative Medicine, at the University of Edinburgh, will involve assessing the impact of a programme of exercise and nutrition on patients’ survival and quality of life. This study will recruit patients across Lothian and take place in St Columba's Hospice. The researchers believe that the trial has the potential to change clinical practice and improve quality of life for people with incurable diseases.

Dr Alan McNair, Senior Research Manager for CSO, said:

“The Chief Scientist Office is delighted to be partnering with Marie Curie to further research in this crucial area. Research into palliative and end of life care is essential if we are to develop the best models of care models for those with terminal illnesses, their carers and families. We are confident that this research will address some of the unanswered questions in this area and ultimately contribute to improving the care and support that people affected by terminal illness receive.”

The CSO has contributed £225,000 of funding which has been matched by Marie Curie to create a fund of £450,000 for research in Scotland. 

The two studies have been selected on the basis that they address key research priorities identified by the Palliative and end of life care Priority Setting Partnership (PeolcPSP) – an extensive open survey which asked carers, health and social care professionals, and people with terminal illnesses to identify what they thought were the most pressing areas of focus for research in the area.

Dr Sabine Best, Head of Research for Marie Curie, said:

“We are excited to be working in partnership with the CSO to fund research of such high quality and relevance. We believe that these studies really do have the potential to significantly improve the lives of people living with terminal illnesses and their families in Scotland and across the UK. Indeed, this is exactly what we as a charity aim to do.”

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