Hospice UK’s 2023 National Conference kicked off in Liverpool with an opening speech from our CEO, Toby Porter.

Read key points from the speech, plus highlights of conference sessions.

Opening speech


In his opening speech, Toby Porter welcomed a record number of delegates to the annual event – this year titled ‘Thinking Differently’ – and shared his belief that the strong attendance reflected the important juncture at which the hospice sector finds itself in 2023.

“One of the very best things about our movement is our ability to connect and share openly with each other, and through that, to be nimble, adaptable and innovative,” he said.

“Relative to the wider health and care system, we are a tight-knit community, but one that enjoys the trust of local communities across the country. And together, we have an impressive national footprint.”

Porter went on to share some reflections on the changing demographics of the UK, and the challenges that our ageing population present for the health and care system. By 2040, estimates suggest that around 800,000 people a year will die – an increase of around 150,000.

With demand for end of life care services set to grow significantly, he argued that hospices across the country will have an increasingly important role to play.

“We should be confident and bold in asserting that our sector has the experience and knowledge to help the UK to do death better.”

To do that, Porter warned of the need for strong backing and support from government and national health bodies.

“We are too often an afterthought when it comes to key Government planning in areas that are fundamental to our ability to sustain – let alone expand – the vital services we offer.

“But if we stay true to our values, and are consistent in our advocacy, then I believe we will find that both the public and Government will support us in the years to come.”

Over the course of the coming three days, colleagues in Liverpool will share and discuss these, and many other challenges and opportunities facing the hospice sector in the UK.

Explore some of the highlights of the conference below.

Conference sessions: preview highlights


The conference programme this year is as full, varied and engaging as ever. You can register for a virtual conference ticket at any time throughout the three-day event in order to join the live streamed sessions.

Here are just some of the selected highlights – view the full conference programme to take a look at what’s happening across all sessions.