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MSP writes to health secretary over care cut

Mark McDonald MSP at Woodside Burgh Hall
Mark McDonald MSP at Woodside Burgh Hall

An Aberdeen MSP has written to the health secretary over a “significant” reduction in the budget for research into end of life care.

Independent Aberdeen Donside member Mark McDonald penned the letter to Jeane Freeman over the year on year cut – despite experts calling for more funding for palliative care.

The Scottish Government’s Chief Scientist Office (CSO) provides funding to support health research in Scotland.

The level of CSO funding directly attributed to support research into palliative and end of life care has fallen  from £181,000 in 2017 to £86,000 this year.

Mr McDonald said: “Research conducted on behalf of the Scottish Parliament in 2015 concluded a serious information deficit needed to be filled on data relating to the provision of palliative care in Scotland.

“Put simply, there is not enough research out there on palliative and end of life care, so a significant reduction in the budget will only exacerbate this problem.

“Palliative and end of life care is, by its very nature, something people often shy away from discussing, but the reality is that it will be something everyone comes into contact with either directly or via a family member.

“This makes work done behind the scenes to support people facing palliative and end of life care decisions even more important, and why the best possible research needs to be properly funded in order to ensure that the best possible care is provided.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said that as the funding was only up to June it was not comparible with other years.

She said: “We recognise that research is important if we are to develop the most effective interventions to support those receiving palliative and end of life care which is why we were a contributing partner in the palliative and end of life care priority setting partnership.”

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