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North Yorkshire and Vale of York supports 'Dying to be Heard' message during Covid-19

Dan 2The Covid-19 pandemic has led to the unfortunate deaths of many people and has meant that families and friends are having to grieve in very different ways, which is why the 'Dying to be Heard' message for Dying Matters Week is being supported by North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC), City of York Council (CYC) and NHS staff across the Vale of York.

NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), City of York Council and North Yorkshire County Council have come together to raise awareness about Dying Matters by emphasizing the importance of talking about wishes and preferences with families and friends

Dr Dan Cottingham, Macmillan GP and Cancer and End of Life Lead at Vale of York CCG, said: This Dying Matters Awareness Week and beyond we want to encourage the importance of talking about death, and your wishes and preferences after you pass away. It’s vitally important that these are discussed with family and friends otherwise it can cause a lot of distress.

"Covid-19 has meant there has sadly been many deaths, and it’s more important than ever that people openly discuss their wishes so that we can all make sure they are fulfilled. While we will be sensitive to the changing situation, we know there will be more people than ever with questions and concerns, who need to talk and who are dying to be heard.

“We fully support the national message this year of ‘Dying to be Heard', and we encourage everyone to talk to their relatives and friends, both during and after the week.”

Talking about dying will not bring death closer. Earlier conversations about death and dying can lead to all of us taking practical steps to plan for death, which in turn can lead to a better death.  Thinking about things such as making a will, deciding what kind of care we’d like, or by making clear our wishes, can make our last days easier for us and the time after our death easier for our families and friends.

Dr Lincoln Sargeant, North Yorkshire’s Director of Public Health said: “It’s always important to talk to family and friends about wishes and feelings about death and preparing for death.  It can help to ease anxieties for all concerned and at the present time when we face the challenges of coronavirus it is more important than ever to make preparations for and to talk about dying, because it does not mean that death is any closer but it can allay concerns and provide practical support for the living”.

Cllr Ian Cuthbertson, City of York Council’s Executive Member for Children, Young People and Education, explained: “Dying and bereavement are very sensitive issues and ones which people can be afraid to talk about.  But having those conversations earlier can help many of us begin to process and come to terms with the sense of grief and loss.

"We all need to help each other with planning, coping, grieving and remembering - particularly during the current Coronavirus pandemic. In support of this year’s Dying Matters Week, City of York Council has launched two new online resources for children and young people.  We hope they will help provide some guidance and support for them, their parents and carers during their grief and will help in handling those important conversations.” 

NHS Vale of York CCG, City of York Council and North Yorkshire County Council are asking that people start sharing their stories and follow the hashtags #BeforeTheirTime and #DyingToBeHeard across social media and pledge to make dying a more comfortable subject for everyone.

City of York Council has created a series of booklets which are available to download via and

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