St Columba’s Hospice Care recognised as first University Hospice in east of Scotland

Categories: Education.

St Columba’s Hospice Care in Edinburgh has been officially recognised as the first University Hospice in the east of Scotland, following the announcement of a pioneering agreement with Queen Margaret University (QMU).

This new and prestigious status, reflects a long standing and substantial partnership between the organisations and will provide a stronger platform for teaching and research in the future.

In addition to an increased capacity for students to study palliative care in practice within the Hospice as part of their degree, the partnership also aims to enhance the delivery of person-centred palliative care through integrated research, teaching and clinical practice.

Dr Erna Haraldsdottir, Director of Education and Research for St Columba’s Hospice Care and Senior Lecturer at QMU, said: “We are delighted to be in a position to formalise our status as a University Hospice and we are excited by the benefits this move will bring to the patients and families we support. The announcement comes as a result of years of collaborative working between the organisations and will also be hugely advantageous to students wishing to gain practical working experience within a palliative and end of life care setting.

“Ultimately, our vision is to provide the best possible care and support to more people by developing the ways that we work and the new relationship means we can take that further. Greater capacity for research means we will always be in a strong position to adapt quickly to the diverse needs of our community in an ever changing and evolving healthcare environment.” 

The status will be operationalised through a newly established joint hub for Person-centred Palliative Care, with the aim of raising the profile of palliative care research nationally and internationally, and ensuring the sector has a continued flow of expert healthcare and leadership personnel. The Hospice is also in the process of embedding research-based facilitated learning into all of its operations.

Professor Brendan McCormack and Dr Erna Haraldsdottir celebrate St Columba’s Hospice Care being officially recognised as the first University Hospice in the east of Scotland, in partnership with Queen Margaret University.

Professor Brendan McCormack, Head of the Divisions of Nursing and Paramedic Science, and Occupational Therapy and Art Therapies at Queen Margaret University, has been championing the University collaboration for the last few years.  He said: “The team is proud to establish Edinburgh’s first University Hospice and excited by the opportunities that this will bring for our students, future healthcare professionals and those involved in palliative and end of life care.

This is collaborative working at its very best – together we can drive forward future collaborative research and learning opportunities which will inform and strengthen the delivery of person-centred practice for individuals nearing end of life and the families who support them.”   

Queen Margaret University and St Columba’s Hospice Care have had a long-standing partnership in relation to palliative care teaching and more recently, in relation to research and the integration of the Arts into palliative care.

The new status as University Hospice formally acknowledges the quality of research and teaching carried out at the Hospice and reinforces St Columba’s position at the forefront of palliative care. Both organisations see the arrangement as a trajectory for the continued development of practice, to support the sector and the patients at St Columba’s.



Lead Photo L-R Julie Young, Professor Fiona Coutts, Dr Erna Haraldsdottir, Professor Brendan McCormack, Jackie Stone, Sir Paul Grice and Dr Giorgos Tsiris.

Colleagues from St Columba’s Hospice Care and Queen Margaret University celebrate their long-standing partnership and new agreement which formally recognises St Columba’s Hospice Care as a University Hospice.


St Columba’s Hospice Care is committed to developing understanding and practice in palliative care. The Hospice has a Centre for Education and Research which offers a wide range of educational opportunities at all levels for health and social care professionals. The Hospice team produces research that impacts on the practice and understanding of palliative care worldwide.

The newly established Hub for person- centred Palliative Care is physically located at St Columba’s Hospice Care within its Centre for Education and Research building.

Our collaborative work with Queen Margaret University is guided by our shared values:

  • A commitment to high quality person-centred palliative care.
  • A recognition of equality and diversity underpinning the development of palliative care services that lead to people with palliative care needs and their families having the best quality of life possible.
  • Innovation and willingness to take risks, challenge convention and be creative.
  • A desire to generate new knowledge that is co-produced and has immediate impact.




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