It goes without saying that we must ensure that people receive the most appropriate, personalised care which is tailored to their individual – and that, as you say, it should not solely be the prerogative of the wealthy.
As you may be aware, in 2014, the Government commissioned the ‘Choice in End of Life Care Programme Board’ to report on how palliative care services could be supported and enhanced to enable people’s choices to be delivered. The Board’s report was published in February 2015 in ‘What’s Important to me: A Review of Choice in End of Life Care’, which can be read here:
The Government published its response to this report recently, in July 2016. It has outlined six commitments to the public which aim to end variation in end of life care across the health system by 2020, and has been welcomed by the chair of the independent programme board, Claire Henry MBE, who said:
‘I’m pleased by the overall vision set out in the government response. They have clearly acknowledged our report, and taken its recommendations seriously.
To implement the new national commitment for end of life care, we all need to work together to make this a reality, to ensure that a real difference can be made to people nearing the end of life and their families. It will be vital that we continue to work with the government to ensure all these commitments are realised as part of all future care delivery. We know that numbers of people dying each year are starting to increase, and we’ll only get one chance to get it right for them.’
The six commitments are:
– honest discussions between care professionals and dying people;
– dying people making informed choices about their care;
– personalised care plans for all;
– the discussion of personalised care plans with care professionals;
– the involvement of family and carers in dying people’s care;
– a key contact so dying people know who to contact at any time of day.
I have been assured that new measures will be developed to ensure local health and care leaders are meeting the high standards expected of them; a number of existing successful initiatives will also be extended, and these will include a specific programme aimed at helping hospitals to improve end of life care, with tailored support from experts. In addition to this, the NHS will increase the use of electronic patient records for people nearing the end of their life, in order to better enable the recording and sharing of individual end-of-life care choices by 2020.
More details of Government action to provide high quality palliative care can be found on the below webpage:
I will continue to lobby the Health Minister and Treasury to meet the funding requirements set out by the ‘What’s Important to me’ review. I have also written to our CCG to understand what provisions have been put in place in the last 12 months, and to hear what plans they have going forward.