MPs’ report calls for improved end-of-life care

A new report by the Commons Health Committee calls for free social care at the end of life, better bereavement support for families and further research into measuring the quality of end of life care.

The House of Commons Health Committee have released their fifth report of session 2014-15 entitled “End of Life Care.”

The Committee have found a significant variation in the quality and practice of end of life care across both acute and community settings.

We must make sure that specialist palliative care expertise is accessible within hospitals and community settings as well as within our hospices.

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, Committee chairwoman

The findings are welcomed by us as a new charity: PATCH – Palliation And The Caring Hospital.

Sir Michael Nairn, Chairman of PATCH, commented that he felt it was a real endorsement of the aims and mission of our new charity that the House of Commons Health Committee should have highlighted the need for palliative care in hospitals in the their recent report, “End of Life Care”.

The aim of PATCH, registered in Scotland in 2013, is to ensure that patients in hospital have access to 24/7 specialist palliative care when they need it. Most people die in hospital and although this may not be where they would prefer to be if they had a realistic choice, the present gaps in hospital care must be addressed. By doing so, those patients (and their families) who have an understanding of where they are in their illness as well as good pain and symptom control, may, with good community support be able to go home.

Report recommendations

  • Round-the-clock access to specialist palliative care in acute and community settings.
  • Free social care at the end of life.
  • The use of Electronic Care Planning
  • Sustainable, long term funding for the hospice sector
  • A consistent quality of bereavement support for families.
  • Full recognition of the importance of the voluntary sector.
  • Further research into measuring the quality of end of life care.
  • Further research into the priorities that matter most to people with terminal illnesses, their families and carers.

Further information

House of Commons Health Committee. (2015) “End of Life Care”, Fifth Report of Session 2014-15.