NCPC calls for new deal for the dying

11 August 2011
A 'new deal' is needed for people at the end of their lives to ensure they are treated well and receive high quality care and support, according to a report published by the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC).

‘No Dress Rehearsals’ looks at how end of life care is measuring up three years on from the publication of the government's End of Life care Strategy. The report finds that, despite many examples of excellent care, there remain serious cases of neglect and ill-treatment. Moreover, many people are not getting their end of life wishes met.

Although Comres research for Dying Matters earlier this year found thatNo Dress Rehearsals Cover more than half of people (59%) are scared of dying in hospital, only a minority are able to currently die at home or elsewhere in the community.

The report highlights failings in the quality of end of life care identified in critical publications from the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and the Care Quality Commission. It reveals that end of life care is still not being treated as a priority by society. In part, this is because of a collective reluctance to discuss end of life issues.

No Dress Rehearsals calls for more open discussion about dying and death to make it a real priority, along with more accountability when end of life care falls below acceptable standards. The report warns that without urgent action, end of life care will get worse, as the population is aging and so more people are expected to die. Within the next 20 years, deaths in England and Wales each year are expected to rise from 500,000 to 590,000, and so more and better services are required.

“A new deal for people who are dying is needed," said Eve Richardson, NCPC and Dying Matters Chief Executive.

The NCPC is calling for four key priorities to be taken forward:

  • Making it easier for people to receive end of life care and to die where they want by shifting investment to community-based services.
  • Making end of life care training a core part of the curriculum for all health and social care staff.
  • Better national and local leadership with better scrutiny of services and signing up end of life care champions throughout the country.
  • Making it easier to hold discussions about what we want at the end of life, using the work of the Dying Matters Coalition to raise public awareness and to make dying well a key priority.

Speaking today, Simon Chapman, Director of Policy and Public Affairs for the National Council for Palliative Care, said: “Every minute in the UK someone dies, but too many people still do not get the end of life care they need and want.

"We only get one chance to get it right for people who are dying, which is why it is a tragedy when the quality of care provided is unacceptable. As a matter of urgency we need a new deal for people who are dying, with more open discussion, better scrutiny of end of life care services and round the clock support available for those who need it.”

  • No Dress Rehearsals: Four key priorities to ensure we get end of life care right the first time, is available from the National Council for Palliative Care, priced £3.00  - purchase No Dress Rehearsals.

More

Daily Mail:  Final wishes of the dying 'too often ignored' as half die in hospital despite not needing to be there

Dying Matters: Health commissioners 'must act early' on end of life care

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