Addressing NHS Continuing Healthcare standards for end of life
On the afternoon of Wednesday 1 November, Elise Hoadley, Director of Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, sat in front of the MPs of the Public Accounts Committee and answered questions about how well some important NHS systems are working for people at the end of life.
The Public Accounts Committee is a group of MPs whose job it is to look at how the government spends its money to make sure it does so effectively and fairly. This is the committee that you may have seen on TV grilling the directors of Kids Company and Amazon. They have a busy schedule, with inquiries covering everything from mental health in prisons to HS2. This Wednesday, they came together to hear expert witnesses telling them about NHS Continuing Healthcare.
NHS Continuing Healthcare is a package of care provided outside of hospital that is arranged and funded solely by the NHS for people 18 or older with significant ongoing healthcare needs. This may sound technical but it’s really important because it’s often used by the people Sue Ryder works with - those at the end of life and those with long term neurological conditions.
Putting NHS end of life care under scrutiny
As part of the inquiry, the Committee invites organisations and experts to send in their views on the topic under discussion. Elise Hoadley, Director of Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice was invited to give evidence in person, and explain how Continuing Healthcare is working for people at the end of life. After the small number of charity representatives had given evidence, MPs moved on to grill officials including the Chief Executive of NHS England and NHS England’s Chief Nursing Officer.
Elise stressed a number of important points to MPs, including the impact on individuals and families of not getting Continuing Healthcare arranged in a timely manner. All of this evidence will be considered by the committee, who reflect on it and produce a final report. This report will summarise their understanding of how the system is working and will make recommendations to the government for what to change. This report is expected around Christmas time, so watch this space.
Policy and Public Affairs Manager (England)