Current and Recent Work
In January 2008 I was seconded on a part-time basis from my post as Bereavement Coordinator in NHS Tayside to work with the Scottish Government Health Directorate as Bereavement Project Manager, leading on the development of a national framework for developing bereavement care in NHSScotland. This work was published in March 2011 as "Shaping Bereavement Care" and was issued under a Chief Executive Letter. If you are interested in this, you can download the framework and the instructions to NHSScotland. Health Boards throughout Scotland are currently implementing the recommendations contained in that report.
In 2009 I was also seconded to work with the Scottish Government's Scottish Resilience unit as part of the planning for a possible influenza pandemic, working to explore bereavement repercussions if the H1N1 influenza pandemic developed as feared.
In 2010 I was seconded to the Scottish Government Public Health Directorate to lead a review of the guidance on the disposal of early pregnancy loss. This guidance was published in July 2012 and issued to all health boards in Scotland. For the first time this guidance discontinued the practice of disposing of early fetuses by incinerations as clinical waste. [The guidance was amended and updated following the Bonomy Commission report on baby cremations. You can access the latest guidance here.]
From 2001 till 2007 I was chair of the Board of Directors of Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland (CBCS). While there I lead on the writing of a series of publications for those who had been recently bereaved and in 2010 I worked again with CBCS to develop the text of two further leaflets, "We're sorry to hear" [click here] and "Living through Grief" [click here].
I continue to do work for Cruse - developing e-learning and planning and delivering training both in-house for Cruse and for a range of external bodies.
In 2012 I retired from Chaplaincy work and worked part-time as Convener of the Scottish Grief and Bereavement Hub, a network for those professionally involved in bereavement care in NHSScotland and partner agencies. In 2014 the Hub was taken over by NHS Education for Scotland (www.sad.scot.nhs.uk ) and I formally retired and launched this website!
For the past 10 years I have led the Perth and Kinross Schools Bereavement Group, which over the years has placed bereavement literature in every school in the area, and has offered training, and conferences to teachers in primary and secondary schools. Their publication "The Little Book of Loss" [click here] has been a huge success. In 2015 the group also published "The Smart Grief Guide" [click here] written by secondary school pupils for the support of people their own age.
I also chaired a research group looking at the socio-economic costs of bereavement in Scotland, and have been involved on the advisory board of a project looking at the bereavement needs of those with profound and multiple learning difficulties.
Since retiring I have continued to undertake work for Cruse, been a member of the Bonomy Commission on the cremation of babies and infants, served on advisory and implementation groups for the review of death certification and undertaken a range of training commissions.
In 2015 I was commissioned by Scottish Government to conduct a review of Funeral Poverty in Scotland, working with Citizens Advice Scotland. [Funeral Povrty in Scotland - a Review for Scottish Government] published in February 2016, and have been involved in a number of groups around the implementation of the recommendations there. I founded and, until 2018 chaired, Scottish Working Group on Funeral Poverty. I remain deeply involved in the discussions around funeral poverty, and sit on the Reference Group for the new Scottish Government benefit Funeral Expense Allowance.
I am prvileged to be an elected member of the International WOrk Group on Death Dying and Bereavement, and in November 2016, working with a local planning group and event management team, I delivered their 29th meeting in Dunblane Hydro.
In 2017, I was appointed a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Bath and with colleagues there and from the University of Utrecht, we have launched a three year study of the links between different aspects of a cremation funeral and the grief of the bereaved.