Dying people's needs overlooked by GP groups and councils

20 May 2016
Dying Matters says the findings of a Hospice UK report which reveals that more than a third of Health and Wellbeing Boards (HWBs) are failing to plan for the needs of dying people are "unacceptable"..

The report also shows that well over half (57%) of HWBs do not include the needs of dying adults and children in the key strategies that inform local service planning, with no change since 2014.

In addition, more than a quarter (27%) of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) do not have a strategy for addressing end of life care for adults in their area.

And more then seven in ten (71%) of CCGs do not have a strategy for supporting children and young people living with life-shortening conditions.

Half a million people in England will die this year but not all will have access to quality palliative and end of life care. There are an estimated 92,000 adults in England every year who require palliative care but are not able to get the support they need, almost one in six of all deaths.

Tracey Bleakley, Chief Executive of Hospice UK, said: "End of life care needs to become a core priority at a local level. A string of national reports has highlighted persistent failings in end of life care and what needs to change. However, there is little prospect of progress without a radical shift in approach by local health and care decision-makers.

"We recognise that HWBs and CCGs face considerable challenges in delivering services, amidst financial constraints and competing priorities. As providers, funders and leaders of palliative and end of life care, hospices are in a strong position to help with these challenges and ready to share their expertise to expand and improve care for dying people.”

Simon Chapman, director of policy and external affairs for Dying Matters and our lead body, the National Council for Palliative Care, commented: "End of life care needs to be a priority and it is unacceptable that there are parts of the country where the needs of dying people are not being met. With demand for end of life care set to increase in the coming decade, it has to be a priority for all care providers. We endorse the call for the Ambitions Framework to provide the basis of future developments, and also urge the Government to give its response to 2015 Choices Review.

"Our own 2014 report found that only 43% of HWB’s include the needs of dying people in their own strategies, so this latest research shows there has been no change in nearly two years. This simply isn’t good enough."

In light of the report, Hospice UK is calling for the following actions:

  • For Ambitions for Palliative and End of Life Care - launched last year by a coalition of 27 national health and care organisations - to form the basis of plans to develop and improve palliative and end of life care services locally.
  • For local health and care leaders to work more closely with hospices and other palliative care providers to better understand the needs in their communities, including using data from hospices on demographics and care provision.
  • For HWBs and CCGs to develop palliative and end of life care strategies in a more co-ordinated way, bringing together health and social care providers from different sectors, especially for services to support the increasingly complex care needs of our ageing population.


Hospice UK

National Council for Palliative Care 


End of life care inequalities unacceptable, says Dying Matters

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