Scottish Palliative Care Guidelines


The June 2016 research bulletin is now available

We'd like your feedback on using these guidelines. Complete our survey

See the News and Updates page for the most recent changes to guidelines


The Scottish Palliative Care Guidelines reflect a consensus of opinion about good practice in the management of adult patients with life limiting illness. They are designed for healthcare professionals from any care setting who are involved in supporting people with a palliative life-limiting condition.

The guidelines have been developed by a multidisciplinary group of professionals working in the community, hospital and specialist palliative care services throughout Scotland.

The guidelines have been developed in accordance with AGREE criteria and are supported by Healthcare Improvement Scotland and the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care.  

Further details about the key principles, background and methodology used to develop the guidelines can be found in the Background section of the website, and these should be considered alongside any recommendations within individual guidelines.

Adherence to guideline recommendations will not ensure a successful outcome in every case. It is the responsibility of all professionals to exercise clinical judgement in the management of individual patients. Palliative care specialists occasionally use or recommend other drugs, doses or drug combinations.

A hard copy of each individual section can be downloaded and printed using the pdf tab that appears at the top of each section.

The online version of these guidelines contains the most up to date information. For recent changes, please visit the News and Updates page.

Note : These national guidelines replace the previous pain & symptom control section of the "Lothian Palliative Care Guidelines (2010)". 


We are seeking feedback on your experiences of using the Scottish Palliative Care Guidelines in practice within NHSScotland. Please participate in the survey to share with us what works well, what needs rethinking and what is out of date. Your responses will inform an update of the guidelines proposed for 2017. The survey: will be open until the 15th July 2016 for your contributions. Please share the link with colleagues.