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Our History


Following a visit to St Christopher’s in London, Ann Weatherill – Matron of Corstorphine and Beech Mount Hospital in Edinburgh – was so inspired by the care given to the dying that together with Dr Derek Doyle (who would become the Hospice’s first Medical Director) she founded a committee to raise funds to found Scotland’s first modern hospice.

After many years of fundraising, St Columba’s Hospice first opened its doors in 1977 with 15 in-patient beds and three months’ running costs. Over the years it has grown and evolved into an exemplary provider of specialist palliative care for thousands of people with life-limiting illnesses in Edinburgh and the Lothians annually, while also providing support to their relatives and loved ones.

Following a successful £26 million rebuild campaign, St Columba’s Hospice now has a brand new building at its original location at 15 Boswall Road, Edinburgh. This building has a 30-bed Inpatient Unit, Day Hospice, Outpatient Services and Community Palliative Care Team, all run by a multi-disciplinary team of doctors, nurses, AHPs, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, counsellors, chaplain, social worker, complementary therapists, fundraisers, stewards, domestics and catering staff. All of our staff are also supported by over 600 volunteers from the surrounding area.

Our Education and Research Centre is based at 17 Boswall Road, next to the main Hospice building, and provides courses for carers, students, graduates and health care professionals. Education is fundamental to the delivery of excellent palliative care and St Columba’s Hospice has always had a strong commitment to sharing knowledge and research through extensive in-house and outreach programmes, which have been accessed by professionals working across Scotland. Our graduates are often current or future leaders of palliative care, and over time strong links have been created with Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh University and Edinburgh Napier University.

While we are partially funded and supported by NHS Lothian, the majority of our funding continues to rely on the generosity of our supporters and local community.