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5 November 2014

In light of RCN survey of nurses views on end-of-life care, the Government, more now than ever, needs to prioritise end of life care says Compassion in Dying

Compassion in Dying has responded to a survey by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) which raises worrying concerns around end of life care.

Compassion in Dying has responded to a survey by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) which raises worrying concerns around end of life care.

The RCN’s survey of their members revealed 58.5% of nurses reported instances where their patients’ wishes had been unable to be fulfilled over the last six months.

Furthermore, 49% of respondents said that they did not always have the chance to discuss with patients how they would like to be cared for during their end of life period.

The reasons given for not fulfilling patient’s wishes were a lack of time, resources and training.

Danielle Hamm, Director of Compassion in Dying, said:

“Everyone in the UK has the right to die well and nurses are an integral part of ensuring that this happens. Unfortunately the Government has failed to make end of life care a priority so hard working nurses are left without the proper resources to ensure patients have a good death.

“The survey raises worrying concerns over a lack of resources meaning patient wishes are not able to be respected at the end of life, which is a primary factor in dying well. A patient must be at the centre of their own care and decision making and it is unacceptable that this is not allowed to happen due to time restraints or lack of resources.

“There is already a lack of public understanding around patient rights and their involvement in decision-making. We know that 82% of people have strong preferences on what treatment they would or would not want to receive at the end of life. With a majority of people dying in hospital, this survey reinforces the need for there to be better resources for medical professionals to allow patients to discuss and meet patient wishes in this in all care environments.”


For all media enquires please contact Compassion in Dying Press Support Officer Mickey Charouneau on 02074797737/07725 433025 or

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 End-of-Life Rights Information Line

The End-of-Life Rights Information Line is available on freephone 0800 999 2434, or by emailing or writing to Information Line, Compassion in Dying, 181 Oxford Street, London W1D 2JT.  The phone-line is open between 11am and 3pm Monday to Friday.

Advance Decisions

An Advance Decision is a document that allows individuals to set out their wishes and preferences for medical treatment in advance, in the event that they become unable to communicate with their health team (for example, if they fall into a coma or develop dementia).  Advance Decisions were given statutory force under the Mental Capacity Act, 2005 (in October 2007) meaning the refusal of treatment is legally binding.  The Compassion in Dying Advance Decision is fully compliant with the Mental Capacity Act.

Free Advance Decisions are available by calling the Information Line or to download here.

Lasting Powers of Attorney

A Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that gives one of more trusted persons the legal power to make decisions about your health and welfare if you lose the capacity to do so yourself.  An LPA cannot be used until is it registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.  LPAs can make decisions for you when you lack the mental capacity to do so yourself, including the withdrawal of life-prolonging treatment.

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