Our work with government

Our public affairs work aims to influence the government in England and Scotland so that they take action to improve palliative, neurological and bereavement care and support.

Annual Lecture 2019 guest speakers

Parliament

In England, we have been involved in raising the profile of end of life care (which contributed to the Government publishing the first-ever national commitment on end of life care), making the case for neurological conditions to be given greater priority in the health system and sharing our expertise about the impacts of bereavement on people’s lives.

Key activities over the last year and priorities going forward include:

  • Campaigning for the government to introduce statutory bereavement leave for all employees for the loss of a close relative or partner. Currently in the UK, there is no statutory right to paid leave, leaving potentially thousands of workers unprotected. Our research shows workplace grief costs the UK economy £23 billion per year but this cost could be significantly mitigated by ensuring workers have time off to grieve. We are working with MPs to persuade the government to bring forward this legislation in the upcoming Employment Bill (November 2020).
  • Calling on the government to change their support bubbles policy to allow bereaved households of any size to form a 'bereavement support bubble' with one other household, in the event of a regional lockdown or future national lockdown. Our research indicates that two-thirds of bereaved people would find this a vital source of support. A cross-party group of MPs supported our letter to the Health Secretary, calling for improved bereavement support for those grieving during the pandemic (September 2020).
  • Submitting evidence to multiple inquiries opened by the Health and Social Care Committee, Public Accounts Committee and Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee in light of the coronavirus pandemic. We are calling on the Government to work with the social care sector to respond to the anticipated growing need for specialist palliative care, bereavement support, neurorehabilitation and community care services in the wake of the coronavirus crisis (May 2020). We also successfully called on the Government to grant access to emergency funding for the hospice sector (April 2020).

Scottish Parliament

In Scotland, our public affairs work involves giving evidence to parliamentary consultations, meeting with MSPs, and shaping government policy. Our campaigning work has led to the review of Scotland’s standards for neurological care and ultimately to the first-ever Neurological Care and Support Action Plan. We have also pushed for out-of-hours palliative care and for better access to bereavement support.

Key activities over the last year and priorities going forward include:

  • Making policy proposals, together with Reform Scotland and Marie Curie to improve the support offered to carers after bereavement (July 2020). For many, when their caring role ends so does the vital support they receive from benefits and tax credits, peer support, and even their identity as a carer, as well as their purpose.
  • Working with a wide coalition of organisations to develop Scotland’s Bereavement Charter (May 2020) which is being taken forward to enable anyone who is grieving to feel supported in their grief.
  • Working with the Scottish Government on their consultation on a new national neurological action plan. We’ve been working closely with everyone involved to ensure that the plan is holistic and person-centred - these are key Sue Ryder values.
  • Preparing for the upcoming Scottish Parliament elections to ensure our policy positions are understood and represented.

Elinor Jayne is our Head of Influencing, and Niamh Buckingham our Policy and Public Affairs Officer. For further information or requests for parliamentary briefings please get in touch.

Download past parliamentary briefings and consultation responses