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Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart calls for better end-of-life care

By Gregor White

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MSP David Stewart.
MSP David Stewart.

David Stewart commented as new research shows that, by 2040, 95 per cent of people in Scotland may need additional support before they die.

Along with party colleague Rhoda Grant, the Highlands and Islands Labour MSP has previously called for end-of-life care to be at the top of the political agenda.

New research from Marie Curie Scotland says another 60,000 people are projected to die with a terminal condition by 2040 – and more people are set to pass away in the community rather than in a hospital.

Around 10,295 people die in the Highlands and Islands each year and of these, 7720 need palliative care.

Marie Curie, in an opinion poll of Scots, highlighted that 61 per cent would prefer to die at home.

Mr Stewart, who is also Labour’s shadow public health minister, held a cross-party members debate on the Right to Full Care to Die at Home in the Scottish Parliament last year, prompted by a plea from Shetland GP Susan Bowie that there should be an automatic right for people to have full care at home day or night for their last few days of life.

This week he said: “A new national strategy is desperately needed. What we have learnt from the pandemic is that end-of-life care is extremely important to families and carers as they struggle with lockdown restrictions and limits to hospital and care home visiting.

“It would be a huge relief to many GPs across Scotland that when someone says they want to die at home. they know for sure they can get the compassionate care to back up the palliative care that is provided.”

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