Welcome to Help the Hospices 2013 conference

Categories: Education.

The three-day conference is returning to the Bournemouth International Centre and will bring together more than 700 delegates and exhibitors from a range of disciplines to facilitate debate and share best practice.

Taking place between 21-23 October, the conference is being held in collaboration with Marie Curie Cancer Care and Sue Ryder and reflects recommendations emerging from the Commission into the Future of Hospice Care.

 The conference is based on four main themes:  

  • Strategic leadership
  • Organisational culture and workforce
  • Building the evidence base
  • Innovations in care

A key message throughout the event will be the urgency for hospices to prepare for a future that will be characterised by greater demand, fewer resources, increased clinical and social complexity in the delivery of care, and higher public and patient expectation.

Here is just a selection of the numerous sessions taking place over the next three days:


In a conference first, a series of seven master classes will precede the main conference running from 11.30am to 3.30pm. The sessions will explore an array of subjects, including innovation, collaboration, the use of technology in an inter-connected age and developing a flexible workforce.

Delegates for the main conference will register from 2pm and will be given the opportunity to network and view the numerous exhibitions and posters on display.

The 2013 conference will open with a plenary session by Richard Smith, former BMJ editor and director of the United Health Chronic Disease Initiative. The session is entitled ‘Death: the upside’ and will be followed by a drinks reception for delegates and speakers.


Tuesday morning will be dominated by the much-anticipated launch of the recommendations from the Commission into the Future of Hospice Care. Highly respected sector leaders, Dame Clare Tickell and Dame Barbara Monroe, will be leading the session, with the Rt Hon Lord Howard of Lympne, CH, QC, chairing the session.

The parallel sessions will begin by 11.15am, with delegates choosing which to attend and the use of technology will feature heavily in the programme, for example:

  • Getting your hospice fit for its technological future Rob Barr, Not for Profit Divisional Director, The Access Group; Sabrina Sykes-Gelder, Hospiscare (more on this below)
  • Dying to connect: social media at the end of life Professor Daniel Miller, University College London; Kimberley McLaughlin and Dr Ros Taylor, Hospice of St Francis

Following the Help the Hospices annual AGM at 5.30pm, the day will wrap up with a three-course-dinner and the presentation of the National Garden Scheme Hospice Innovation Awards.


Delegates can make the most of the final day by attending a breakfast briefing on Wednesday morning to explore palliative care funding pilots. The session will be run by Catherine Davies, head of the Palliative Care Funding Programme at NHS England.

A rich selection of parallel sessions will leave delegates spoiled for choice and include:

  • Can giving patients choice be cost-effective? Catherine Deakin and Jonathan Ellis, Help the Hospices; Preth Rao, Sue Ryder; Phil McCarvill, Marie Curie Cancer Care
  • How can we measure and monitor care? Outcomes and quality indicators made simple Professor Joachim Cohen, Ghent University and Vrije Universiteit Brussel; Dr Fliss Murtagh, King’s College, London
  • Working differently with hospitals  Dr John Hughes, Sue Ryder; Dame Barbara Monroe and Liz Bryan, St Christopher’s Hospice

The final closing plenary will be delivered by Help the Hospices CEO, David Praill.

The conference ‘app’

For the first time at the Help the Hospices conference, delegates will be using a conference-specific app, only open to those attending. It will enable people to keep in touch at the conference, plan their schedule, email and message colleagues and friends and make new contacts.

Twitter is expected to feature highly in the conference communications, as delegates are able to tweet directly from the app itself. You can catch all the conference action on Twitter by following @ehospicenews @HelptheHospices  and by using #HospiceConf.

For a full programme of events and to find further information visit the Help the Hospices website.

Message from the headline sponsor

As already mentioned, headline sponsor The Access Group will be running a session on being fit for a technological future.

Advances in technology never stop, it’s important that hospices keep up with these changes in order to remain efficient and improve service delivery. During this session Sabrina Sykes-Gelder from Hospiscare highlights how their use of HR technology saves them two days a week, while Rob Barr from Access Group presents the results from the ‘How do hospices use social media and smart technologies’ survey, exploring the ways in which we can best utilise social media and CRM platforms to nurture relationships and maximise fundraising opportunities.

Access Group’s workshop on 22 October highlights how hospices can benefit through the effective use of technology. Using case studies as examples the workshop will discuss how hospices can improve efficiency and accuracy following the implementation of HR and fundraising software, saving time, money, empowering staff and engaging with donors through CRM technology.

Access also takes a look at its NFP social media survey, comparing this year’s results with the results in 2011; what are the trends? And have there been any significant changes? In 2011 27% of the sector took part in the survey which highlighted that only five respondents recorded social media in their CRM systems. With the increased competition for donor engagement, Access will illustrate why it’s important that hospices engage with their potential audience through social channels.

Delving beyond the survey attendees will gain insight into using social media for fundraising, tracking donor behaviour and using online and social media strategy to benefit their organisation.

Access is a leading author of specialised software for the not-for-profit sector. More than 800 UK not-for-profit organisations use Access, including more than 10% of Help the Hospices members. Access acquired fundraising CRM NFP specialists thankQ in December 2012 to compliment its already strong presence in the NFP marketplace, responding to customer needs for an integrated fundraising and back-office solution. 

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