NHS Care for Terminally Ill Patients Outside Hours is Failing
The Telegraph newspaper reports hospitals are failing to provide quality end of life, round the clock care for people who are terminally ill. A coalition of doctors and charities compiled figures that shows just 1 in 10 NHS hospitals offer expert care for people who are dying on a 24/7 basis. The Royal College of Physicians, Marie Curie and the Association of Palliative Medicine have said that far more needs to be done to provide comfort, support and pain relief.
The audit of 142 NHS trusts found just 11% managed to provide specialist palliative support, around the clock which experts highlight is unacceptable. The NHS needs to invest more in expert care to help those who are end of life. It is said there are nowhere near enough palliative care doctors and nurses, we have just one palliative care consultant and five palliative care nurses per 1,000 beds. Baroness Finlay states we should impose a legal duty on health commissioners to provide specialist palliative care seven days a week. Like other health services palliative care is often subject to a “postcode lottery”.
It is estimated 50,000 people each year have poor care in the last 3 months of their lives. In terms of researching better ways to help terminally ill people, just 0.1% of the health research budget is spent in this area.
Independent Living Owner, Mark Booker, commented, “Locally, some great support is available to help people at this difficult time, in particular the work done by St Catherines Hospice at Lostock Hall, both on site and outreach at a person’s home. A key problem is that helping a terminally ill person often requires and range of services from different organisations and it is the coordination of services which is the most difficult aspect”.