Terminally ill care failings26th November 2008
The National Audit Office (NAO) has warned that people with terminal illness and their families are not getting the right end of life care.
The NAO said there are failings and that while most people wanted to die at home, the majority ended their days in hospital.
Its report, compiled after a survey among patients, doctors, nurses and NHS trusts, indicated that families, hospices and care homes in England needed more help to provide better end of life services.
Concerns were raised that there was a lack of support for people in care homes, leading to admissions to hospital during the final part of life. Figures show 58% of the 500,000 people who die annually in England died in hospital.
Frontline staff lacked basic training and only 29% of doctors and 18% of nurses had any training in end of life care while hospices struggled with a lack of funding.
The watchdog also found wide variations in the spending on palliative care ranging from £154 at one trust to over £1,600 on the average patient at others.
Karen Taylor, head of health at the National Audit Office, said: "There are examples of good practice out there, but generally the system is not meeting the needs of people."
She added that families and care homes were often left on their own to cope.
Age Concern, said age discrimination continued to haunt older people even at the end of life while care services minister Phil Hope said the government's plans to improve care were on track.
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Title: Terminally ill care failings
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 9355
Date Added: 26th Nov 2008