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NCPC says end of life care inequalities unacceptable

The National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC) has stated that the inequalities in end of life care shown in the CQC’s thematic review are unacceptable and need immediate remedy.

An opinion poll by ComRes, commissioned by the NCPC, found that only 25 percent of people agreed that “everyone in the UK currently has access to good quality end of life care” with 55 percent disagreeing. Younger people were more likely to agree with the statement, with 31 percent of 18-24-year-olds agreeing. Among those aged over 65, only 17 percent agreed, with 67 percent disagreeing.

The NCPC has called on the government to publish its response to 2015’s Independent Choice review report on end of life care as a first step to addressing the issue of inequality.

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Simon Chapman, director of policy and external affairs for the NCPC, said “it is unacceptable for anyone to receive poor quality end of life care. It is especially troubling that people in these groups, so often overlooked and  marginalised by the rest of society, also suffer poor care at the end of their lives. The government needs to take immediate action to address these issues, starting with a response to the Choices Review.”

The Choices Review What’s important to me. A Review of Choice in End of Life Care was published in February 2015 by the Choices End of Life Care Programme Board, a group of independent experts in end of life care. It was chaired by NCPC Chief Executive Claire Henry. It set out a detailed, comprehensive series of costed recommendations to improve palliative care, with a goal for implementation by 2020.

Says Simon: “the CQC has done us all a great favour in publishing this report, and NCPC is glad to have helped them with it. We know what needs to be done to improve end of life care for everybody: this report is yet another reminder of why the government needs to get on with it and publish its plan to improve end of life care. There are challenges ahead in achieving the goals of the Choices Review, but they are achievable.  The British people have made it clear that they see this is as a priority: time for action is long overdue.”

“How we treat dying people says a lot about how we treat the living. End of life care should be core business for the NHS but this report makes it clear that NHS leaders are too often neglecting the needs of dying people. This is why we are seeing such deep inconsistency in people’s quality and experience of care.

“This report lays bare the ways in which different groups suffer needlessly as they approach death. Dying does not make equals of us all. Many individual caregivers are doing their best, but for excellent end of life care for all we need training, resources, support and above all leadership that sees this as a top priority.”

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