Terminally ill suffer needlessly30th August 2007
A national hospice charity says that too many terminally ill people are suffering â€śneedlessly uncomfortable and distressingâ€? deaths.
A study by Help the Hospices has suggested that services for the dying and support for their families are inadequate. It adds that major problem areas are the level of training for care staff and insufficient funding, which could threaten the future of some hospices.
It is now hoping that its recommendations will be included in the governmentâ€™s End of Life Care Strategy for England.
David Praill, chief executive of Help the Hospices, said: â€śRelief from pain and symptoms, dignity, care and emotional and practical support as we approach the end of life should be basic rights. Too many people are being denied these things and we are delighted that the government is addressing this.â€?
But he warned: â€śThe End of Life Care Strategy will be an ineffectual wish if the issues we have raised are not addressed through its implementation.â€?
Recommendations in the Help the Hospices report call for earlier access to palliative care for people with life threatening conditions and greater choice for people about where to die: at home, in hospital or in a hospice.
The voluntary sector runs more than 60% of hospices in England, providing palliative and day care support to the NHS.
The Department of Health has thanked Help the Hospices for its report and help in developing the End of Life Care Strategy. A report on the strategy is expected to be ready in the autumn.
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