"No room for complacency" as UK named world-leader in end of life care

6 October 2015
The UK is the best place in the world in which to die, according to a study comparing end of life care in 80 countries.

An image from the Quality of Death Index 2015The UK's comprehensive national policies, the extensive integration of palliative care into the NHS, a strong hospice movement and deep community engagement on the issue are among the reasons cited in the study by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Although in comparative terms standards of palliative care in the UK are second to none, there is still room for improvement. An investigation by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman into complaints about end-of-life care, published in May 2015, highlighted issues such as poor symptom control, poor communication and planning, not responding to the needs of the dying, inadequate out-of-hours services and delays in diagnosis and referrals for treatment.

Claire Henry, Chief Executive of the National Council for Palliative Care - the lead body for Dying Matters - said: "The UK is rightly viewed as a leader in palliative care, and we welcome the fact that once again it ranks first in the Quality of Death Index. At its best how the UK cares for people who are dying is absolutely world class with hospice care leading the way, but there can be no room for complacency, especially as the demand for palliative care is increasing.

"Despite excellent care which we should rightly be proud of, too many people in the UK are still being failed as they reach the end of their lives, with a series of hard-hitting reports highlighting that dying people cannot consistently rely on access to pain relief, 24/7 care or coordinated care that would enable them to be cared for and die in the place of their choice, which for most people is in their own homes or in a hospice.

"We only have one chance to get care right for people who are dying, which is why we very much hope that the Government continues to look to improve end of life care for everyone who needs it and invests in caring for dying people in the forthcoming spending review, including by implementing the recommendations contained in the recent review of choice at the end of life."

Further information:

  1. Read the full press release
  2. The National Council for Palliative Care is the umbrella charity for all those involved in palliative, end of life and hospice care in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It also leads the Dying Matters Coalition, which aims to help transform public attitudes towards dying, death and bereavement in England and Wales.


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