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Wednesday 21st August 2019

Huge variations in end of life care

1st July 2011

An inquiry has found that there are inequities in the provision of care for the dying across England.

Old Hands

And it has now called for a set of universal standards for care at the end of life.

The review, led by the chief executive of Marie Curie Cancer Care, Thomas Hughes-Hallett, found the current system is confusing and inconsistent.

It wants a set of guarantees on what the state will provide, and a new payment system to help more people die at home rather than in hospital after fears that thousands of dying patients are missing out on palliative care every year.

The report estimates that of just over 470,000 people who die in England each year, some 355,000 require palliative care to relieve suffering but only 171,000 receive it.

Mr Hughes-Hallett said: “You get better clinical and economic outcomes when patients receive palliative care. But there is no tariff for this in hospitals or the community so it is no surprise that good outcomes are not achieved. We are left with stunning inequities.”

The review wants a new system of tariffs to incentivise high-quality care which should reflect the complexity of patients’ needs and the type of care required.

Each patient would have an appointed co-ordinator to help guide them through the different services.

The National Council for Palliative Care said it was vital that the government acted on the recommendations.

Macmillan Cancer Support said that it was up to the government to ensure that palliative services were standard across the country.


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