Bus tour to help people talk about death

Date: 11 May 2018

Dying Matters

A bus will be touring Oxfordshire in May to encourage and remind people to talk about death, dying and bereavement. The initiative is being led by the NHS and local charities as part of the national Dying Matters Week (14 to 20 May).

The bus will be visiting six towns in the county over three days and staff will be on hand to create a friendly space for people to ask questions about end of life care such as making a will, planning a funeral and coping with bereavement.

The bus will be at the following venues:

  • Kidlington 14 May (10am to noon) in Sainsbury’s car park, Oxford Road OX5 2PE
  • Bicester 14 May (1pm to 3pm) in Tesco’s Superstore car park, Lakeview Drive OX26 1DE
  • Banbury 16 May (10am to noon) in Bridge Street, near the entrance to Castle Quay shopping centre
  • Wallingford 16 May (1pm to 3pm) in the Wallingford community hospital car park, Reading Road OX10 9DU
  • Oxford 17 May (10am to noon) in the car park at the John Allen Centre, Cowley OX4 3JP
  • Witney 17 May (1pm to 3pm) in the Witney community hospital car park, Welch Way OX28 6JJ.

Staff from Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and local hospice care charities that include Sobell House, Katharine House and Sue Ryder as well as Age UK will be on the bus to answer questions. The Co-operative Funeral Care has part funded the initiative.

Other events taking place during the week include:

 Awareness stands at:

  • The League of Friends space on Level 2 at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford (Monday 14 to Wednesday 16 May)
  • In the main reception at both the Churchill Hospital and Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Oxford, and next to the A&E entrance at the Horton General Hospital, Banbury (Monday 14 to Thursday 17 May).
  • These stands will include leaflets and information about death, dying and bereavement with staff available to talk to patients, visitors and staff from 1pm to 2pm each day.
  • An event at Christ Church College, Oxford, Tuesday 15 May (6pm to 8pm) organised by Sobell House entitled Finding a Language aimed parents, teachers, carers and professionals on how to speak to children about death, dying and critical illness. This event will signal the end of a project Sobell House has promoted in local schools aimed at encouraging a discussion among pupils about death  See here for more information.
  • B4 I Die boards will be put up around Oxford Health buildings and provide an opportunity for patients, public and staff to share the things they would like to do before they die to enable them to talk more openly about death and dying. 


Dr Jonathan Crawshaw, a GP Lead at Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This is the first time we have used a bus to allow us to meet people to talk about death and dying. Discussing death can be a bit awkward at first, but it is something we all have to face. By talking about it we can deal with death better when any of our loved ones, friends and relatives pass-away.”

John Campbell, Head of Nursing for Older Adults Service at Oxford Health, says: “Time can be the most important commodity in both life and healthcare. Helping people to discuss how they would want to spend time at the end of their life in a way that matters to them and is valuable for them is one of the most significant things that healthcare professionals can do to support patients their families and friends. We hope that lots of people will find time to visit the bus.”

Dr Mary Miller, Palliative Medicine Consultant and Lead for Oxford University Hospitals’ end of life care project, says: “Dying Matters Week is a real opportunity for us to get out into our local communities and encourage people to talk about this important subject. Every one of us will die and our hospitals play an important role in caring for those who are dying, their family and friends. OUH is committed to supporting our staff to provide the best possible care for patients in the final stages of their lives.”

Holly Spiers, Director of Hospices & Fundraising at Sue Ryder, said:  “Death is an inevitable part of all our lives, and yet in modern society we have become far more distanced from the first-hand reality of it. It has become a taboo subject that many of us find difficult to broach. By inviting the public to talk about their experiences or fears will help more people experience a good death. I would encourage everyone to get involved and take part in Dying Matters Week.

“Bereavement can be a long and difficult process and we launched the Sue Ryder online community and support in 2015 to help people who are struggling to come to terms with a death, use of which has more than doubled between 2016 and 2017.”

Tim Harrison, Clinical Lead for Sobell House and Consultant in Palliative Medicine, said: “The issue of not knowing what to say to adults and children when they lose someone often leads many to saying nothing at all, which can result in someone feeling more isolated and alone. Our support of Dying Matters aims to change this. We want to open up the discussion and help people understand how the subject should be approached when it’s needed to be.”

Chris Higgins, Communications Officer at Katharine House Hospice, said: “As a hospice, we rely on the kindness and support of our local community. Without their fundraising and donations we couldn’t continue to care for the 300 people in our community who need us every week. Dying Matters week is a great opportunity for us to go talk to people in our community about the work we do and how we support people and families facing life-limiting illness in our hospice, in their own homes and in the local hospital.”

For more information about the week and other events taking place across the country see: https://www.dyingmatters.org/page/map-awareness-week-events-2018

  • Summary:

    Talk to staff about making a will or how to handle bereavement at various events during Dying Matters Week (14/20May). 

  • Transformation:
  • Date:
    11 May 2018