Good progress, but a lot more to do...

24 August 2010
The Dying Matters Coalition and The National Council for Palliative Care and respond to the publication of the End of Life Care Strategy Second Annual Report.

Good progress, but a lot more to do...

The National Council for Palliative Care and Dying Matters Coalition respond to the publication of the End of Life Care Strategy Second Annual Report.

A great deal has already been achieved, but there remains much more to do. This is the message of the second annual report on the End of Life Care Strategy, published this week. Progress has been made both nationally and regionally across a range of areas, but the report emphasises the importance of improving end of life care in an increasingly challenging economic climate.

Professor Mayur Lakhani, Chair of the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC) and the Dying Matters Coalition said:

“As a practising GP, I have seen real progress in end of life care but there is much more to do to iron out inequalities. I am concerned about the differences in spending on end of life care across the NHS that the report highlights. It is essential that we do not lose momentum as new NHS structures are implemented.  GP consortia, the successors to PCTs, must embrace high quality accessible end of life care as a priority for their populations.

I am delighted that the report highlights the important work of the Dying Matters Coalition in addressing one of the most challenging aspects of the End of Life Care Strategy - changing public attitudes to dying, death and bereavement. Ensuring everyone gets the highest quality of care at end of life and are able to die in the place of their choice is essential. Our over 12,000 members are working in communities across the country to combat our reluctance to talk about our needs and preferences for end of life care.”

The report recognises that a care home is a legitimate choice for those wishing to die at home, which is welcome progress. The role of carers is crucial but the reports shows only 13 of the 145 PCTs recorded new investment into carers’ assessment.

The level of new investment on raising awareness to improve end of life varies significantly across PCTs and SHAs from nil to £107,000, reflecting the pattern of those PCTs who have historically invested in end of life care.

Eve Richardson, Chief Executive of NCPC, noted:

“There is a real risk that the lack of implementation in some areas could create a postcode lottery in end of life care.  In the new commissioning era it will be vital to prevent this gap from widening.”

 

For support, information and resources on death, dying and bereavement issues, visit www.dyingmatters.org

--ENDS--

Notes to Editors

1. Dying Matters is a broad based and inclusive national coalition of over 12,000 members, which aims to change public knowledge, attitudes and behaviours towards death, dying and bereavement.

2. The Dying Matters Coalition is led by the National Council for Palliative Care with members drawn from a wide range of sectors, including the NHS, voluntary and independent health and care sectors, hospices, care homes, charities supporting old people, children and bereavement, the social care and housing sectors, faith organisations, community organisations, schools and colleges, academic bodies, trade unions, the legal profession and the funeral sector.

3. More than 500,000 people die in England each year. Heart failure and stroke are the biggest killers. One in four people in the UK will die of cancer. With an increasingly ageing population the majority of older people will be living with a number of conditions. For example, around 30% of people over the age of 85 with cancer will also have dementia.

4. Details of the Department of Health End of Life Care Strategy Second Annual Report are available from: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_118810

5. Information on the breakdown of funding for all the PCTs and SHAs’ new investment spend is available from: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_118810

6. The comments in this release represent the views of the Dying Matters Coalition and do not necessarily reflect the views of member organisations.

For more information, please contact Joe Levenson, Head of Communications, on freephone 08000 21 44 66 / j.levenson@ncpc.org.uk

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