Sue Ryder responds to the new research report on commissioning of specialist palliative care services in England

Sue Hogston, Chief Nurse at Sue Ryder, said:

"This new report exposes some shocking evidence on the lack of support for palliative care in the UK. At Sue Ryder, we campaign to improve end of life care and support services for dying people and their families, and this report reveals that, as a country, we still have a long way to end a postcode lottery regarding good, responsive end of life care.

"This research highlights the strong variation in priority given to palliative care across the country, with the palliative care budget of CCGs per year ranging from £51.83 per patient to £2,329.19.

"Less than a third (31.4%) of CCGs commissioned pain control teams, and the majority of these only operate in regular working hours. This is a big problem as, when you are dying, pain can be a problem at any time of night or day.

"In 2014 we launched our Dying doesn’t work 9 to 5 campaign, calling for dying people and their families to have access to 24/7 coordinated care and support services. These needs do not go away at the end of the working day, so neither should the support services to address them.

"The research also reveals that there needs to be improved availability of around the clock palliative services in the community, and that we need to deliver more choice for people to help prevent unnecessary hospital admissions and promote choice.

"Research undertaken as part of our Dying doesn’t work 9 to 5 campaign clearly demonstrated that the provision of palliative services in the community varies greatly. These roles are critical in ensuring last days of life are pain-free, with distressing symptoms under control and families supported. This support to the dying person and those important to them is vital in enabling choice, thereby helping people to die in their place of preference, which is usually at home, by ensuring that they and their loved ones receive the tailored care and support that they need and deserve.

"At Sue Ryder, we are committed to educating and supporting staff involved with delivery of care at end of life, which takes full account of an individual's human rights, for dignity and management of distressing symptoms.

"In July, the Government launched its National Commitment on end of life care, which set out what people can expect from their care. The Government said that it would 'lead on end of life care nationally and provide support for local leadership, including commissioners, to prioritise and improve end of life care'.

"This new research shines a light on the challenges that the Government will need to address in following through on its commitment. We eagerly await their response and look forward to playing our part in driving these improvements."


Notes to Editors

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Paul Martin
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