Prospect Hospice welcomes new Demos report

Prospect Hospice welcomes a newly-published report by think-tank Demos that identifies inconsistency in the availability of end-of-life care across the UK, and its dependence on patient factors such as diagnosis, age, ethnicity and location.

The report, called Ways and Means, has been written in association with the health and social care charity Sue Ryder, and has prompted calls on the government and commissioners to level the playing field by removing arbitrary factors that currently prevent people from being able to access good quality end-of-life care. The report also urges more support and training for GPs and other health care professionals to enable them to talk more readily about death and dying with patients and their families, and identifying different end-of-life care needs.

The report also finds that tackling the current inequalities would enable more people to die in a manner of their choosing, thereby reducing the number of emergency hospital admissions for patients in their last year of life, which cost the NHS an estimated £1.3bn each year.

“We welcome the publication of this report, because it rightly identifies the differences that people approaching the end of their lives in the UK experience,” says Prospect Hospice Chief Executive Angela Jordan. “We don’t think that the illness people are living with, or their ethnicity, or age, or any other arbitrary factor should play a part in whether or not they receive the very best in end-of-life care.

“At Prospect Hospice we have already made considerable progress towards some of the measures the report suggests, including the introduction of our in-reach palliative care service at the Great Western Hospital and also our education programme for GPs and other health and social care professionals,” Angela adds. “However, the report confirms that in many parts of the country no such support exists for people whose needs are seen as complicated, based on factors that have become barriers against patients accessing the care they need. This cannot be acceptable, so we call on government, healthcare professionals, commissioners and hospices to work in close partnership to overcome the issues identified in today’s report, to ensure the best possible care and experience for people at the end of their lives.”

The report, Ways and Means by Claudia Wood and Ally Paget, is published by Demos.