Hospice UK's first hybrid National Conference took place earlier this month, with a total of around 800 delegates attending the event in-person at Liverpool's ACC and watching the livestreamed sessions online. 

Under the title "A New World", this year's conference had sessions on gender equality, race, technology, and community working, among many areas. 

The subject of racial inequality in palliative and end of life care was discussed by Dr Jamilla Hussain, Dr Jonathan Koffman, and Dr Sabrina Bajwah, the authors of a recent editorial addressing disparities in care for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups in the UK. Day two featured a plenary on gender inequality in the palliative care workforce with Mandu Reid, the leader of the Women's Equality Party and Eleanor Mills, journalist and founder of Noon. 

"Eye-opening sessions"

"Some of the talks on equality and diversity have been really moving, and really opened my eyes to the issues we have" said Clare, lead research nurse at Dorothy House Hospice in Winsley, Bradford-on-Avon. 

"It's made me much more inspired to go back and actually look at how we're working within our communities, broaden out and look more widely" she added. 

A session on working with homeless communities including moving accounts of people experiencing homeless or who had no recourse to public funds and as a consequence struggled to get the care they needed. Another session saw ITV's political reporter Dan Hewitt speaking about how hospices can use the media as a force for change, and there were also talks on the future of the healthcare system post-COVID and workforce challenges.

Cat Sullivan

Hospice UK's Senior Clinical and Quality Improvement Lead at the 2021 National Conference 


Award-winning work

Rather than the customary awards ceremony, this year Hospice UK's awards were given to recipients before plenary sessions each day, a change brought about by the pandemic. Award winners for 2021 included Sheila Miller for Volunteer of the Year at St Gemma's Hospice in Leeds, and St Oswald's Hospice winning the Innovation in Care award for developing a volunteer workforce for their Lymphoedema Service. 

The Michael Howard Award went to St Barnabas Lincolnshire Hospice for their collaboration with the local council and NHS trust, and The Mary Stevens Hospice were the recipients of the Innovation in Tackling Inequalities award for their No Barriers Here project. 

Like in previous years, the exhibition hall was dedicated to posters presenting the latest work in the sector. Lyndsey Stukalov-Stone, social worker at Heart of Kent Hospice was presenting 'Precious Time', a new book to help children understand how they feel when someone dies. She said, "I've networked with so many people, and spoken to so many different hospices and professionals. It's been amazing, so many people have looked at the book".