National Council for Palliative Care supports Macmillan warning

27 April 2016
The National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC), lead body of Dying Matters, is backing new analysis by Macmillan Cancer Support which shows that "growing demand for end of life care will put an ‘intolerable’ strain on the NHS and social services".

Macmillan Cancer Support estimates that nearly 144,000 people a year in England are expected to die of cancer by 2020, equating to one person dying of the disease every four minutes. This means an extra 15,000 people could be dying of cancer in 2020 in England, compared to in 2010.

The estimate, based on recent Office for National Statistics population projections and past trends in cancer deaths from Public Health England, highlights the urgent need to tackle the country’s ‘deeply imperfect’ approach to end of life care, says Macmillan Cancer Support. Many dying patients currently lack adequate pain relief, are not being involved in vital decisions about their care and are unable to die at home if they want to because of inadequate support.

Simon Chapman, Director of Policy and External Affairs for the NCPC, said: "Although the majority of people die from conditions other than cancer, people with cancer are more likely to be able to access palliative and end of life care than others. Macmillan's warning of a looming crisis is therefore a serious concern for us all.

"We repeat the call for the government to implement all the recommendations of the Choices Review as a matter of urgency. This must include making sure that access to palliative and end of life care is properly funded for everybody, regardless of their diagnosis, throughout the country."

The NCPC's workforce report, the next edition of which is due later this month, found in 2014 that there is a potential shortage of specialist palliative care nurses on the horizon.


To find out more about Macmillan’s campaign on end of life care, visit:

To find out more about the work of NCPC, visit:

News: Choice in end of life: Comment from Claire Henry, the Chair of the Choice in End of Life Care Review Board

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