Macmillan Cancer Support responds to the governments response to the review of choice in end of life care published today.

In February 2015, advice from a government-commissioned independent review, A Review of Choice in End of Life Care was published. Today, the government responded saying, amongst other things, it would ensure that in England:

  • There are end of life care experts available around the clock to help dying people and their families with symptom control and deteriorating conditions late at night or at the weekend
  • Better community care through local urgent and emergency care hubs, new‘ care coordinator roles and pilots of community nursing provision
  • Better training and education on end of life care for healthcare professionals
  • Personalised care plans for those at the end of their life

Lynda Thomas, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, says:

“As a cancer charity that has been pressing the government to prioritise end of life care it is very encouraging to see it committing to providing round the clock care to help dying people and their families day and night. Better training and education for nurses and healthcare professionals on end of life care is also a positive move that could make a huge difference to those at the end of their lives. We welcome the government’s plans to ensure that those who are dying get a personalised care plan. This will make it easier for relatives and healthcare staff to make sure patients gets the care they want and, where possible, die in the place of their choice.

“At the moment, end of life care for cancer patients is patchy, meaning that in some areas of England thousands of people each year spend their final days in hospital when they would rather be at home. Others suffer from unnecessary pain and discomfort. Dying patients should be entitled to high quality personalised care, have their pain controlled and be supported to die in the place they wish. Help should extend to family and loved ones so they feel supported at an extremely difficult time.

“It is vital that the recommendations in last year’s Review of Choice in End of Life Care are put in place to ensure this happens. Today’s commitment from the government is a vital first step. It is now up to NHS England and other health bodies to deliver these plans. And they will need the necessary funding over the coming years if we are to see patients at the end of their lives get the care and support they need.”