Media coverage of end of life issues

18 October 2012
A response from Eve Richardson, Chief Executive of the Dying Matters Coalition.

“It’s great that the RCGP, as the professional membership body for family doctors in the UK, has come out publicly to voice serious concerns about the misleading coverage in the Daily Mail and elsewhere about planning for end of life care. We fully support their concerns and believe that it is irresponsible to scaremonger and misreport on such an important issue as parts of the media sadly have done, which can have a massive impact on vulnerable people.

"There is substantial evidence, including from Dying Matters, that by identifying people who are approaching the end of their lives, discussing their wishes with them and sharing this information with other services, GPs can play a key role in giving their patients a better chance of being cared for and supported where they want to be, which for most people is in their home rather than in hospital.

"Half a million people in England die every year, but many people aren’t getting the end of life care that they need, often because their wishes have not been discussed with them. After loved ones, people tell us it is their GPs they want to turn to for information and support about planning for their end of life wishes, which is why it is so vital that doctors are involved in identifying patients approaching the end of their lives and discussing their wishes with them.”

More

Dr Peter Sanders (who was quoted in the Daily Mail story): how unbalanced reporting can damage a well-intentioned initiative to improve care

Letter: Dying Matters and the National End of Life Care Programme respond to the Daily Mail article

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