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Monday 24th October 2016

Better palliative care pledge

22nd August 2008

The Scottish government has announced plans to improve palliative care.

Old Hands

The national plan to improve palliative care provision follows concerns over treatment for the terminally ill and comes after a report from Audit Scotland highlighted "inconsistencies" in care for different illnesses and access to services.

The document found that 90% of specialist care was delivered to cancer patients, although the disease accounted for fewer than 30% of deaths.

People with other conditions such as organ or respiratory failure – and with complex palliative care needs – were less likely to get the specialist care that they required, according to Audit Scotland.

It also found that good practice was not being applied across the board and that the level of palliative care being provided was less consistent in remote communities of Scotland.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said that while changes were being made by health boards, more needed to be done.

Deputy auditor general Caroline Gardner said: "Palliative care should be an integral part of the support given to patients and their families and carers during the last months, days and hours of their lives.

"In many areas of Scotland, the voluntary sector and the health service provide excellent and much appreciated care. But access to good quality palliative care varies across the country."

Cancer charities Marie Curie and Macmillan said the findings showed a national strategy was vital for Scotland.

Audit Scotland said that in 2006/07, some £59m was spent on specialist care with about half of that total coming from the voluntary sector.


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