Current Affairs

Vital trends in end of life care

The National Council for Palliative Care has released a summary of trends within palliative and end of life care.

The information comes from the latest edition of the Minimum Data Set (MDS) for the National Survey of Patient Activity Data for Specialist Palliative Care Services which has been published by the National Council for Palliative Care, Public Health England and Hospice UK.

The 2014-15 edition of the report is based on responses from over 800 services across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It covers palliative care services provided by hospice, inpatient, day care, community care, hospital support, outpatient and bereavement support services.

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Trends within the report

The survey found that 81 percent of patients supported by community palliative and hospice teams die out of hospital compared to a national average of 48 percent. The involvement of a community team more than doubles the chance being able to die at home.

Access to specialist palliative care for patients with a non-cancer diagnosis has improved. Over the last six years the numbers have doubled from 14 percent to 29 percent in hospital and community settings. Yet, all services are still predominantly referred patients with cancer, despite this being the cause of death in only 29 percent of the population.

Professional viewpoint

Claire Henry, CEO of the NCPC commented: “We all want good quality end of life care for everyone, and it’s important we know the current situation. We need to see continuous improvement in end of life care, and gathering and sharing this data is one of ways we achieve this.

“I’m grateful to everyone who has worked hard on this report, from our colleagues at Hospice UK and Public Health England to all those service providers who took the time to gather, report and check their data.”

Go to to download the full report.

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