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A House of Commons Committee finds that end of life care isn’t good enough

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee today released a report on End of Life Care, highlighting the poor care and lack of choices some patients experience at the end of their lives.

The report found that despite most people wanting to die at home, 60% die in hospital, with no clinical need for them to be there. The Committee states that people should have the right to die in the place of their choice.

They go on to report that those who die in hospital are not always afforded the end of life care they deserve, including effective pain management and being treated with dignity and respect. The Committee makes clear in their report that the involvement of specialist palliative care teams and pathways in all cases of end of life care is essential.

The report states that a lack of co-ordination between health and social care services is partly to blame for care preferences not always being communicated effectively and therefore not being enacted, and calls for more education and training in end of life care for both staff and Primary Care Trusts.

Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying says:

“This report worryingly shows that we have not come as far as we should have done in end of life care provision. The Governments End of Life Care Strategy, launched last year, was a welcome advance, however, we are concerned that in these difficult economic times, end of life care may suffer and the full implementation of the End of Life Care Strategy may be delayed.

“We hope that the recommendations in this report will be implemented with immediate effect to provide all people with choice about where they want to spend their final days, supported by fully trained professionals, where pain and suffering is alleviated as much as is possible.”