Scotland’s independent think tank
Scotland’s independent think tank

Charity trio calls for new deal for carers

Support plan for carers after a bereavement tops the list of policy ideas

A collaboration between Marie Curie, Sue Ryder and the Reform Scotland think tank has produced a new report which calls for major changes in the support offered to carers after the person they have cared for dies.

The report – Life After Death: supporting carers after bereavement – calls for more recognition of the impact of death on the carer and the effect on the carer’s physical and mental health, their relationships, their ability to work and their finances.

Marie Curie, which supports people through terminal illness, Sue Ryder, that provides specialist end of life care and online bereavement support and Reform Scotland, the independent non-party think tank, have produced a set of detailed policy proposals aimed at assisting in the personal recovery of carers after a loved one’s death.

It contains five policy proposals:

  1. Post-carer support plan – A holistic package of coordination and support for carers to prepare for life after the death of the person they were caring for, starting during the ‘living grief’ phase before a bereavement takes place
  2. National helpline – Particularly targeted at those caring for people with dementia or terminal illness, who are coping with the living grief of watching their loved one’s health diminish
  3. Training and education fund – Carers may have been out of work for many years as a result of their role – this is specifically aimed at smoothing the path to re-enter employment
  4. Post-caring support payment – A new payment to support a carer after the bereavement, working together with the training and education fund, in particular
  5. Signposting – A new pack for GPs and other key individuals to offer to carers, giving them the full set of information about the help available to them

Full details can be read in the paper.

The Scottish Government recognises the huge burden shouldered by carers and has put in place measures to support them to cope. However, when the person being cared for dies, the challenges being faced by the carer do not disappear and can even intensify.”

“Sue Ryder is asking the Scottish Government to ensure that carers are given the support they need and deserve to help them recover once their role has ended. The practical measures that we are proposing, would make a real difference to people who currently face having their support withdrawn at the same time as they are dealing with the death of a loved one.”

“Now is the right time for changes to be made to ensure that bereaved carers are no longer deserted at such a vulnerable time.”

Pamela MacKenzie, Director of Scotland at Sue Ryder

Many carers struggle following the death of the person they are caring for, whether that is financially, emotionally or when trying to return to aspects of their former lives, like work. Far too often the system fails them and they are left behind. We need this to change. Bereaved carers need extended financial support through Carers’ Allowance and a personal plan to help support them through their bereavement and beyond. We are calling on the Scottish Government to action this now to ensure that everyone in a caring role gets the help they need when that role comes to an end.”

Richard Meade, Head of Policy and Public Affairs Scotland at Marie Curie

Carers are the often unseen, and often unsung, heroes of so many people in this country. Their sacrifice is absolute, their dedication to their loved one unfaltering.
“Yet it is the sad reality that life after care has ended can be stressful, uncertain and gloomy. As a country, we are not doing enough to support them.
“It’s time to put that right, and we are delighted to have been able to help Sue Ryder and Marie Curie to create these realistic and achievable policies, which could go a long way to improving the lives of people in post-care.”

Alison Payne, Research Director at Reform Scotland


  1. Life After Death: supporting carers after bereavement can be read here.
  2. Sue Ryder supports people through the most difficult times of their lives. Whether that’s a terminal illness, the loss of a loved one or a neurological condition – we’re there when it matters. For over 65 years our doctors, nurses and carers have given people the compassion and expert care they need to help them live the best life they possibly can. We take the time to understand what’s important to people and give them choice and control over their care. For some this may mean specialist care in one of our centres, whilst others might need support in their own home. Find out more by visiting or following us on Twitter @Sue_Ryder
  3. Marie Curie Nurses, doctors and hospice staff are on the frontline of the Coronavirus crisis. Every day they are helping to support dying people to be cared for away from hospital when every bit of available capacity is needed to care for people diagnosed with the virus, and we are also providing care to those who have tested positive for coronavirus in our hospices and who are suspected as having the virus at home across the UK. Marie Curie Free Support Line: The Marie Curie Information and Support line (0800 090 2309) can help with information about all aspects of end of life or grieving, whether you have practical, emotional or financial questions or concerns, or if you just want someone to talk to. Nurses are also available to talk to on the line. For more information, visit Marie Curie’s Emergency Funding Appeal: Donate online at or text NURSE to 70633 to help us reach the families who need us. Texts cost £5 plus 1 standard rate message. 98% is received by Marie Curie. To unsubscribe text OUT to 78866. Talk About Dying, Death & Bereavement: Marie Curie can help you and your family open conversations around death and dying. Visit to find ideas and tools to help you get started. A National Day to #UniteInMemory: One million people have been bereaved since lockdown with every death from coronavirus or another cause devastating for friends and family. A National Day to reflect, grieve and remember all the people who’ve lost their lives will be held on 23 March 2021.
  4. Reform Scotland is an independent, non-party think tank that aims to set out a better way to deliver increased economic prosperity and more effective public services based on the traditional Scottish principles of limited government, diversity and personal responsibility. Further information is available at
  5. Media: For Sue Ryder, 07773 200 759 or [email protected]; For Marie Curie, 0845 073 8699 or [email protected]; For Reform Scotland, Message Matters (Andy Maciver, 07855 261 244, [email protected])