Getting care right for carers in Scotland

During Carers Week we will be running a series of blogs which highlight the challenges of being a carer and explore what’s being done to help support people as they care for people living with a terminal illness.

by Richard Meade
Head of Policy & Public Affairs, Scotland

Marie Curie, Expertvoices Group
Members of our Expert Voices Group visited Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee.


We know that caring for someone with a terminal illness can be very demanding and often the carer can be isolated and left without much support. In some instances the demand on the carer can be overwhelming and can lead to a breakdown in care leading to hospitalisation of the patient and even the carer themselves.

It’s a crucial role and can make a real difference in the quality of care. Research shows that people living with a terminal illness have a better chance of dying at home if they have the support of a carer.

The Scottish Parliament is in the process of deliberating on new laws to support carers in Scotland. This will look at improving how carers are identified, developing a new way of planning their support, as well as putting a duty on local authorities to put in place a local strategy and to develop eligibility criteria for extra help. It’s also proposed that carers themselves should be more involved in the planning and delivery of the care of the person they are caring for.

Marie Curie's input


Last week the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee invited members of Marie Curie’s Expert Voices Group (EVG) Scotland to discuss caring for someone at the end of life and how the proposed law might be improved.

The EVG members raised a number of important issues to the MSPs in attendance including:

  • the need for carers of people with a terminal illness to be identified for support; 

  • the need for a single point of contact or coordinator to help with support

  • how and who carries out any assessment of need

  • the nature of caring for someone with a terminal illness and how that differs from caring for people in other circumstances

  • how professionals communicate with carers and the information they get

  • the need to look at improving respite care and short breaks for carers of people with a terminal illness.


MSPs agreed with a lot of what was raised and have promised to consider these issues as they continue their scrutiny of the Bill.

Marie Curie has also called for those caring for a person with a terminal illness to be automatically eligible for carers support, to ensure that they get support with important things like short breaks.

What's next?



The new law is likely to be debated in the Scottish Parliament later this year and we hope that it is supported by all MSPs. We also hope that the final version ensures that people caring for someone living with a terminal illness get the support they need and which many currently do not get.

Caring for someone at the end of life can be an incredibly difficult time, and carers should be given the support they need to give the care they want to their loved ones.

Take a look at the different ways Marie Curie provide help and support for people who are caring for someone living with a terminal illness.