Too many people with terminal illnesses are suffering “needlessly” because of poorly funded end of life care services, Help the Hospices, the national charity for the hospice movement, said today.
Hospices are being hindered by “inadequate” funding and a lack of service integration and training for healthcare professionals, a report by the charity has found.
Few people receive a choice about where they die and experience “uncomfortable and distressing” deaths, according to the report.
Help the Hospices is calling for the government to deliver its manifesto commitment to doubling investment in palliative care services and improvements towards “fair and transparent” commissioning.
The charity also recommends the introduction of more incentives for services to improve and quality standards for care.
Currently, adult local charitable hospices in England receive an average of just over one third of their funding from the government, while children’s hospices receive an average of only 5%. The rest of their money must be obtained by fundraising.
Help the Hospice’s report responds to the government’s End of Life Care strategy published last year.
David Praill, chief executive of Help the Hospices, said he hoped the strategy would deliver “real change.”
He added: “Relief from pain and symptoms, dignity, care and emotional and practical support as we approach the end of life should be basic rights. Too many people are being denied these things. The strategy will be an ineffectual wish if the issues we have raised are not addressed through its implementation and supported by enforcement and clarity on what additional investment we will see, who will get it and when we will see it.”
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