Half of new NHS Boards ignoring end of life care

21 March 2013
With just two weeks to go until England’s 152 Health and Wellbeing Boards take on new legal responsibilities as part of the Government’s health reforms, almost half have failed to set out what they will do to meet the needs of dying people, according to research published today by the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC).

The report, 'Does dying matter to England’s new Health and Wellbeing Boards?', finds that of the Boards who have made public their strategy only just over half (63 out of 117) had explicitly discussed end of life care. This is despite the fact that on average almost 3,000 people each year will die in the local authority area covered by a Health and Wellbeing Board.

The report also raises concerns that with just two weeks to go, 35 of the 152 (23%) Health and Wellbeing Boards still have not publicly made available even a draft strategy.

Today’s report follows earlier research carried out by NCPC in autumn 2012 which called on Health and Wellbeing Boards to seize the opportunity to join up support for people who are dying. However, although six Boards have subsequently updated their strategies to include end of life care and others have since published their strategy for the first time, three boards have since removed references in their strategies as to what they plan to do for people who are dying.

NCPC will be contacting the Health and Wellbeing Boards who have not considered end of life care and who have not produced a strategy to offer help in the form of information, support, toolkits and examples of good practice from other boards to assist them to address their omission before it negatively impacts on local people.

Pdf download: 'Does Dying matter to England’s new Health and Wellbeing Boards?'

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