The Mary Stevens Hospice No Barriers Here finalists in national NHS Improvement Award

Categories: Care and Research.

The Mary Stevens Hospice are celebrating following the news that their No Barriers Here programme was shortlisted for an NHS Quality Improvement Award.

The award is part of the NHS Big Conversation event and the No Barriers Here programme and team has been nationally recognised from hundreds of nominations, reaching the final four in the ‘Improving through co-production’ category.

No Barriers Here was originally developed in 2020 by Hospice Palliative Care Inclusion and Community Partnerships Lead Gemma Allen, Dr Jed Jerwood and Dudley Voices for Choice with the aim of exploring inequity and challenging barriers to palliative and end of life care for people with learning disabilities.

The model was piloted in co-production with people with lived experience and highly acclaimed, winning Hospice UK’s Tackling Inequalities Award 2021 and finalists for The National Learning Disability and Autism Award 2021.

Dudley Voices for Choice commented on the shortlist stating:

“We are very proud of the work that we did with The Mary Stevens Hospice on No Barriers Here. This project has made a big difference to many and lots of people are now talking about end-of-life care. Working together and in different ways made it easy for everyone to be involved.”

The second phase of No Barriers Here, funded by NHS Charities Together, involves a community-based research study to improve access to palliative and end of life care and equitable advance care planning opportunities for people who may be excluded due to identity, culture, ethnicity or race.

It is led by The Mary Stevens Hospice, in partnership with The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, Dudley Integrated Health Care and other healthcare organisations. It is in co-production with people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds who support the development and implementation of the study, ensure that the project is flexible and inclusive and think through complexities of the project.

Dr Jamilla Hussain, advisor and member of the co-production team explains about No Barriers Here:

“The first thing that struck me about No Barriers Here was the name- it unapologetically shines the light on the issue for those of us from minoritised groups.

It is not us that are hard to reach, it is the barriers that need dismantling. It makes me feel safe. The second things is the people who have created this space before it was ‘flavour of the month’. There is now a drive for ‘community engagement’ with little pause to think about who the best people may be to engage. Not everyone can do this work, it depends on trust.

People like Gemma and Jed have equity in their bones, those of us from minoritised groups can sense this. This is key to the success of creating a safe space. There’s lots for us to learn from Gemma and Jed- it is not as easy as they make it look. I’m deeply grateful to them for showing us the way, in partnership.”

The Mary Stevens Hospice are currently running arts-based advance care planning workshops as part of the study, with an education programme later this year to share early research fundings. A facilitator training programme has been developed to disseminate the model and is being delivered to health care professionals across several areas of the UK.

For more information, please contact: Gemma Allen or follow No Barriers Here on Twitter @NoBarriersHere


Mary Stevens Hospice is a charity offering high quality, specialist hospice care for adults living with life-shortening illnesses and dedicated support for their families and carers. Based in Stourbridge, we serve people who live in the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, the Black Country and surrounding areas.

The hospice provides a safe, caring and compassionate environment where all staff are highly-skilled and have time to listen and advise. It is their role to create personalised holistic programmes of care, that encompass emotional and practical support, to help reduce symptoms of illness and side effects of treatment. Specialist services are provided at our recently refurbished In-Patient Unit and our Day Therapies Clinic. We also offer care at home where appropriate.

Mary Stevens Hospice care is provided free of charge to all adults who need our support. Our trustees, staff, volunteers and supporters from a compassionate community work together to raise the funds that pay for over 80% of our annual running costs.

Without their efforts we would not be able to deliver our badly needed services and ensure that:

  • The care that we provide is free
  • The care that we provide is for local people
  • The care that we provide relieves pain and suffering
  • The care that we provide for 4 out 5 of our patients is paid for by money we have raised




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