Strategy for end-of-life care planned

A new government strategy for end-of-life care in England will look at funding for hospices, choice for patients and quality of care.

The strategy, announced today by health minister Rosie Winterton, will be produced by national cancer director Professor Mike Richards and the national director for older people, Professor Ian Philp.

It will build on the health and social care white paper, Our Health, Our Care, Our Say, which outlined plans to set up end-of-life-care networks and rapid response teams.

It will also provide guidance to commissioners and providers on improving end-of-life care at a local level.

The Department of Health announced the strategy as a report led by an academic from Southampton University said a training and support programme for district and community nurses had improved their palliative care practice and knowledge.

However, it said there remained a need for more palliative care education for these nurses.

The announcement also came three months after a Department of Health report found care homes had been slow to take up NHS best practice on end-of-life care.

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