Fife’s Health & Social Care Partnership shines a light on the care homes in Fife

To support Care Home Day 2020, Fife’s Health & Social Care Partnership wanted to shine a light on the wonderful care homes in Fife.

Care homes are communities within communities and every member of staff, every resident and families and friends all play a valuable role.  It really is an extended family. As an integral part of our communities, care homes provide high quality person-centred care to support the health and wellbeing of residents.

Cllr David Graham, Fife Council Spokesperson for Health said:

“Our care home staff really are amazing, and I would like to thank every care home worker for the commitment and passion they show in supporting residents and their families, not only through this pandemic but every day. Staff have come up with so many different ways of keeping residents entertained and families and friends have been very supportive of the care and attention that their families have received, and they continue to receive.”

Cllr Graham joined Fife’s Health & Social Care Director Nicky Connor and Divisional General Manager David Heaney at Ostlers House Care Home today in Kirkcaldy.

Caption: From left Cllr David Graham, Nicky Connor, John Cooper, Service Manager, FHSCP, David Heaney, Divisional General Manager, FHSCP and Ostlers House staff Kirsten Wilkie, Helen Oliver, Eddie Hepburn and Elaine Patrick. Kneeling is Elaine Siggers with the star of the show Ozzie the home’s therapet.

Nicky Connor, Director of Fife HSCP added: “It really was very humbling speaking to staff. They are an inspiring group of people and what they have done to keep families connected throughout this period whilst visiting was cancelled has been really innovative. Having the ability to use iPads to connect with families and friends has made a huge difference and residents adapted well to using Facetime. Visiting has now resumed, although this looks a little different with physical distancing measures and PPE now the norm. I can’t thank care home staff enough for their commitment to keeping their communities safe and well”.

Scottish Care’s Paul Dundas and Fiona Mckay, Head of Strategic Planning, Performance and Commissioning. FHSCP also popped along to Bandrum Care Home in Saline to catch up with staff.

Fiona added: “We work closely with our independent care providers and relationships have been enhanced throughout the pandemic, supporting each other and working together has been key to everything we have achieved. The generosity also received from local organisations who have helped out during this crisis has been appreciated. This really is partnership working at its’ best”

Paul also added: “Care homes are an essential part of our communities and staff demonstrate their commitment and compassion every day, always putting those they care for at the heart of everything they do. Their dedication and professionalism are inspirational, and I can’t thank them enough.”

Photo from left: Fiona McKay, Paul Dundas, Rachel Payne (Bandrum), Jacquie Stringer, Service Manager and PPE Lead, FHSCP and Katerine Spence (Bandrum)

We need a National Day of Mourning and Remembrance – a personal reflection

Today is the 4th July and memories of a few years ago when I was in Boston where events changed the history of the United States of America live on in my mind. It is a special day for many citizens of the United States and later today I will no doubt chat to American family as they celebrate the 4th. Closer to home it is a day which in the past week has built in the public consciousness with a growing clamour in England around the opening of pubs! And that’s been hard for so many.

As I have mentioned over the last few months I receive a lot of correspondence from folks who have kept in touch with me during the pandemic. One of those wrote to me this week about how hard it has been reading the newspapers and seeing the news on TV in the build-up to what has become this self-styled ‘Independence Day’ and ‘Super Saturday.’ For her it is a day of real insensitivity because like countless thousands she is one of those who have lost her husband to Covid19, her husband being one of the people who died as a result of the virus in a care home.

She is not alone. Many have spoken, written or messaged me from their places of hurt. They have found it hard to reconcile a return to ‘normal’ with the loss and emptiness which is a constant ache in their waking moments and restless nights. They have spoken of the way in which they feel as if they have been put to the side in their grieving as the world rushes by in its race back to normality. They have spoken about becoming the invisible grieving, those whose story is an uncomfortable and constant reminder of the vicious pain and raw absence that this virus has and is causing.

Mourning is an essential part of the rhythm of life – it’s moves are individual and it’s actions are determined by our own character. For some there is a desire to be busy and active, using routine and familiarity to contain our lostness;  for others a need to withdraw and hold pain close; for yet others there is consolation and comfort in the presence of family and friends. But the problem has been that we have been prevented or blocked in so much of the ways in which we traditionally mourn and grieve. Mourning has become unnatural and painfully hard during the pandemic with all the restrictions on funerals, on being together, or on simply being free to wander in our hurt.

As things begin to ease through lockdown then it will undoubtedly become easier for people to reconnect and nurture their own grieving. But I think we all of us have to recognise that those who have lost someone to Covid19 need to be supported and upheld by the wider community. There is something painfully distinctive about losing someone in and to the pandemic and we need to acknowledge that and take action to address these issues. This in part has started already through the resourcing of more focussed grief and bereavement support. But increasingly I feel that this support and recognition needs to be broader and wider.

The messages I have been getting are from people who feel as if society is in danger of creating a stigma around Covid19 and especially around dying from Covid19. We saw a similar trend after the Spanish Flu in the 1920s. They speak of the bereaved unable or unwilling to say to others that their relative has died from the virus. I very much hope that those are a minority, but I also fear that we need to recognise better  the reality of these feelings than we are doing.

Whether you have been bereaved because of Covid19 or someone has died during the lockdown period I believe that there needs to be not solely a restoration of personal grieving support but that we now need to do something at a community and national level. My concern is that if we do not do so there will be far too many with unresolved and blocked grieving which will only serve to cause hurt and harbour pain into the future.

So today I am calling for a National Day of Mourning and Remembrance  for all those impacted by Covid19 in Scotland. I am asking all Members of the Scottish Parliament to agree in principle to the idea of such a day.

  • A day to mourn all those who have died in care homes, in hospital and in community
  • A day to mourn all those who have died during Lockdown for whom we have been unable to grieve and remember as we might have done
  • A day to remember all those who have worked tirelessly in the care of others sharing compassion, giving professionalism and sacrificial service.
  • A day to remember all those who have had their lives changed and turned upside down by this virus.

I am not naming a day, but I think we need to as a community identify the need to have such a day in the future when we can be together to focus on those we need to remember. We need to create a point in the horizon ahead to which those who are lost in their grief can find the energy to pull themselves toward in the hope that society will hear their story, will listen to their loss and will be silent in remembrance.

We need to have a day when in silence and in action, in country and in city, in streets and in homes people have the opportunity to pause and reflect for from such comes healing and renewal both individually and as a community.

Above the din and noise of rushing back to a normal future we must give space and place for people to remember, to picture their loved ones and to cradle a moment in time which is theirs to grieve. We owe them no less.

After the silence of loss, the memories come, the tears fall, the sadness echoes and  mourning and remembrance sounds.

Donald Macaskill

International Nurses Week 2020 Stories

Scotland launches its first human rights-based Charter for Bereavement

A Bereavement Charter for Children and Adults in Scotland 

After eighteen months of development including consultation and engagement with individuals and groups across Scotland, on Wednesday (15th April) Scotland’s first Bereavement Charter for Children and Adults will be launched.


The Charter together with Guidance notes has been developed by a coalition of individuals and organisations. It contains 15 statements which describe what the best bereavement care and support should look like. It has been developed to support individuals and communities who struggle with the death of someone they know or someone in their community.


Today, the need for such a Charter has become even more important due to the unique circumstances we currently find ourselves in as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. People who are bereaved may not have been able to be with a person as they approach the end of their life and may be isolated from their usual networks of support. It has also changed the traditional ways we are able to mark our grief. Traditional bereavement rituals and funerals have changed with many people now unable to attend funerals in the way that they might have in the past. Many deaths have become sudden with little or no time to prepare.


The Charter is designed to help us understand not only the importance of bereavement support, but what that support needs to look like.


Whilst accepting that every death is unique and that the way we each come to terms with a death is individual, this Charter and Guidance attempts to describe what good bereavement support can look like and what difference it can make.


The authors of the Charter hope that it will begin to appear in locations across Scotland and will be used by diverse groups and individuals. It is therefore hoped that the Charter will help us as a nation become more effective at supporting people to grieve.


Dr Donald Macaskill, Chair of the Bereavement Charter Group and CEO of Scottish Care, commented:

Bereavement support is an intrinsic part what it means to be a citizen in modern Scotland. Good bereavement support is not an optional extra, it is fundamental to a society basing its character on dignity and human rights. Good bereavement support renews and restores, it can give a sense of purpose and direction, for many it is what has literally saved their lives.

“I have been deeply honoured to lead the work on developing the first Charter on Bereavement for Children and Adults in Scotland. Dozens have given their time to create this unique document in the earnest hope that we will become better at talking about death and dying, and better at supporting the women and men who grieve in our communities.

“We are launching this Charter in very unusual times. The weeks and months ahead will require us all as a society to support one another to grieve for those who have died – our family, friends, neighbours and acquaintances. I hope that this Charter and its Guidance will help Scotland to be able to grieve.”


Dr Janice Turner, Principle Educator: Medical Education at NHS Education for Scotland commented:

‘’It has been an immense privilege to work with so many individuals and organisations in the development of Scotland’s first Bereavement Charter for Adults and Children. We collectively hope that it will make a real and positive impact on the quality of bereavement care in Scotland, both now, and for many years to come’’.



The Charter has been developed by a wide coalition of individuals and organisations including the Care Inspectorate, Childhood Bereavement Network, CHAS, Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, MND Scotland, National Bereavement Alliance, NHS Education for Scotland, NHS Fife, NHS Forth Valley, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Northumbria University, St Columba’s Hospice Care, Scottish Ambulance Service, Scottish Care, Sue Ryder, University of Glasgow and the University of the West of Scotland.

There is a short film further summarising the rationale for the development of the Charter available at:

The Charter, a FAQ Sheet and a Guidance document can all be found at 


Scottish Labour letter of thanks to health and care staff

Please find attached a letter from Richard Leonard MSP and Monica Lennon MSP of the Scottish Labour Party..

The letter is to thank all the NHS and social care staff who are working through these challenging times.

With today (7 April) being World Health Day, it seems even more appropriate that the enormous contribution that those in the health and care sector are making is recognised.