Calls For Free End-Of-Life Care

Committee Also Recommends Staff Training And Bereavement Support

16.03.2015

End-of-life care should be available to everybody for free, a new report by the Commons Health Committee says.

The report from the influential group of MPs found that end-of-life care, defined as that which is provided to people expected to die within 12 months, is unevenly distributed in England.

The committee said hospital staff often lack the confidence and expertise to discuss end-of-life issues, recommending that staff should receive relevant training on care planning, and bereavement support should be offered to families.

It also recommended appointing one senior person in each NHS Trust to overseeing how this care is delivered.

"We must make sure that specialist palliative care expertise is accessible within hospitals and community settings as well as within our hospices," Committee Chairwoman Dr Sarah Wollaston MP told BBC News.

Care minister Norman Lamb said the government is carefully considering the costs and benefits of free end-of-life care provision, but added that "many people already receive good end-of-life care".

Expert Opinion
It is vital that a system is in place to ensure that end-of-life care is provided in a manner which puts the best interests and needs of patients first.

"We would urge the Government to work closely with the NHS and patients groups to ensure that any new system which is introduced works in the best interests of those affected by such services. Such a system must also not ignore the loved ones of those affected and ensure that they have a voice in the key decisions made in relation to their care."
Anne-Marie Irwin, Associate