2018: A year in review

Categories: Featured and People & Places.

ehospice looks back at the last 12 months in the hospice sector.   


April’s Virgin London Marathon may have been the hottest on record, but that did not stop the hundreds of runners who turned up to raise funds for hospices around the UK. Hospice UK saw support from 180 runners who raised over £350,000 for the charity.

Hospice UK’s annual Retail Conference in May included a presentation by Joules on bucking trends by continuing to open stores while growing their online presence, and a session by Ashgate Hospice about challenging the perception of charity retail shopping. On a more curious note, an Egyptian figurine dating from around 350 BC won the prize for Most Unusual Item donated to a hospice shop.


Dying Matters Awareness Week had another successful campaign with the theme ‘What Can You Do?’ Over 450 registered events took place around England and Wales, including films, stand-up comedy, death cafes and talks.  Its first campaign since Hospice UK merged with the National Council for Palliative Care in 2017, it generated much newspaper, radio and TV coverage as well as thousands of social media posts, with #DyingMatters trending on Twitter on the launch day.

Later in the year, Hospice Care Week celebrated its most successful week to date with this year’s ‘Heart Your Hospice’ theme. As well as encouraging supporters to wear or eat something yellow – and Hospice UK’s now ritual ‘gunging’ of colleagues with gloopy custard – more hospice shops than ever before decked out their front windows with bunting and other décor as part of the Hospice Shop Challenge.

Outstanding achievements

Three hospices were recognised in this year’s New Year Honours: Adele Ellen Silvey, a long standing volunteer at Thames Hospice in Windsor, Fundraiser  Isabella Turnbull Halliday and speaker Evelyn Joan Grieve for CHAS (Children’s Hospices Across Scotland), and Margaret Moodie, volunteer at St Columba’s Hospice in Edinburgh.

Three hospices received the highest possible rating of ‘outstanding’ from the Care Quality Commission (CQC): Arthur Rank Hospice in Cambridge, Cornwall Hospice Care and St Margaret’s Hospice in Somerset.

In September Linda Magistris, CEO and founder of bereavement charity The Good Grief Trust, received the Prime Minister’s Point of Light award, given to people who are making a positive change in their community.


Training for Project ECHO began in April and ran throughout the year at Highlands Hospice in Inverness, St Luke’s Hospice in Sheffield and Hospice UK offices in London and Belfast. ECHO stands for Extension of Community Healthcare Outcomes, and at its heart are hub-and-spoke knowledge-sharing networks which are supported to form communities of practice with the input from the hub of dedicated IT, administration and trained facilitation of the virtual meetings.

In May the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect, changing the way hospices and other healthcare organisations handle and share patient information and other important data.

A 13-part television series about patients cared for by a hospice was filmed at ellenor in Kent and broadcast on Together in May. The show introduced viewers to patients including two-year-old Harriet, who suffers from a heart condition and attends for regular check-ups and to play in the Fun Club, enabling her to have quality play time her twin sister and brother in a safe environment.

A show-stopping garden exhibited at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and created to raise awareness of myeloma, an incurable form of blood cancer, moved to its permanent home in the grounds of The Hospice of St Francis in Berkhamsted.

June 22 marked the centenary of the birth of Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the modern hospice movement. To commemorate this the Cicely Saunders Institute in London tweeted its most significant research papers, i.e. those resulting in changes to clinical care, policy and education, for a hundred days. A new biography featuring personal interviews with Saunders was published to coincide with the anniversary, read our review here.

The theme of Hospice UK’s national conference this year was ‘Transforming palliative care’. Over the course of two days more than 800 delegates attended sessions as varied as Lucy Watts MBE speaking about the need to talk about sexuality to young adults with life-limiting conditions, the impact of Brexit on the charity sector and providing adequate bereavement care in the 21st century.

Lord Howard of Lympne, peer and former leader of the Conservative party, retired from his role as Chair of Hospice UK in November after eight years leading its board of trustees.  He is succeeded by ITV’s Political Editor Robert Peston. Lord Howard is now a Vice President of the charity.

The charity’s second Christmas carol service took place at St Luke’s Church in Chelsea, London once again. It was attended by actresses Patricia Hodge OBE and Sophie Ward, with a performance by tenor David Webb.

ehospice is on holiday till January 7.

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