We welcome the House of Commons Health Committee report on End-of-Life Care. The report makes several recommendations including:
- healthcare staff should receive training in advance care planning, including the legal tools that are available to patients who wish to plan ahead,
- clear leadership is needed to ensure that end-of-life care is prioritised and embedded in the planning of local services, and
- research to measure the quality of end of life care and the priorities that matter most to people with terminal illnesses, their families and carers is needed.
Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Compassion in Dying, said:
“Compassion in Dying welcomes this report which makes important recommendations around improving access to end of life care and ensuring patients’ choices are known about and respected at the end of life.
“We know from calls to our free information line, and our community outreach work, that there is a real need for greater information and support for people approaching the end of life to enable them to think through their choices and plan ahead. The Health Committee clearly recognise that much more work is needed in terms of training, care provision and leadership to ensure that people think through and record their care preferences, in order to have the death they want. Patient choice in end-of-life care must be a priority for the next Government and the recommendations in this report should be put in to action without delay.
“The Committee’s recognition that health and care staff often feel that they lack the confidence and skills needed to raise end-of-life issues with patients, let alone understanding of the legal tools available to patients under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 to set out their treatment preferences in advance is particularly important. The reports states that the delivery of end-of-life care is the business of all care professionals, and we hope that the Committee’s recommendation that all staff that provide end-of-life care to people with life-limiting conditions should receive training in advance care planning, including the legal tools that are available to patients is taken up as a matter of urgency.
“The report also identifies a tension between local planning and national guidance with the services delivered being of varying quality by location. The recommendation for identified leadership of a senior named person in each NHS Trust and care provider being given responsibility for monitoring how end of life care is being delivered within their organisation will be critical to ensure that end-of-life care is prioritised and embedded in planning of services across the country.”
Notes to editors:
The full report can be read here: www.parliament.uk/healthcom.
Compassion in Dying provided written evidence to the Health Select Committee.
For media enquiries, please contact Davina Hehir or Mickey Charouneau at Compassion in Dying on 07725 433025.
Compassion in Dying
Compassion in Dying is a national charity (no. 1120203) that aims to support people at the end of life to have what they consider to be a good death by providing information and support around their legal rights and choices. We are a leading provider of free Advance Decisions in the UK and we also conduct and review research around patient rights and choices in end-of-life care.
Compassion in Dying is the sister organisation of Dignity in Dying and was set up to help people exercise their rights and choices under the current law. The charity does not campaign for a change in the law on assisted dying.
For more information on Compassion in Dying visit: www.compassionindying.org.uk.
Dignity in Dying
Dignity in Dying campaigns for greater choice, control and access to services at the end of life including the option of assisted dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults within strict legal safeguards. For more information on Dignity in Dying visit: www.dignityindying.org.uk.