Report reveals ‘good progress’ on end of life care
End of life care is improving, but more needs to be done to ensure patients receive the best possible care in the setting of their choice, a report has found.
The second annual report on the government’s End of Life Care Strategy highlights a number of key areas of progress.
These include the allocation of a £40 million grant for hospices; the launch of e-learning for health and social care staff; and the launch of the Dying Matters Coalition to raise public awareness.
However, the report also highlighted variations in the provision of end of life care services across the country.
Care services minister Paul Burstow commented: ‘We need to ensure that the care people receive at the end of life is compassionate, appropriate, and gives people choices in where they die and how they are cared for.
‘While there has been good progress made so far this year, the variation in progress across the country means the NHS must redouble its efforts.’
Mr Burstow confirmed that more will be done to improve training in end of life care, promote best practice and ensure a high standard of care is available across the NHS.
Professor Mike Richards, national clinical director for end of life care, added: ‘End of life is the final health outcome for all of us, so it’s crucial that we get it right.’
Mike Hobday, head of policy at Macmillan Cancer Support, confirmed that progress is being made, but emphasised the need for further improvements.
He cited recent research by the charity, showing that nearly half of primary care trusts still do not enable people to die at home if they wish to and insisted that people ‘must have the choice to live their final days at home if they want to’.
Mr Hobday added that all patients should have access to community nursing at all times of day or night.