King’s Fund warns of loss of momentum on end-of-life care

Momentum on improving end-of-life care may be lost because of the government's decision to delay a review of the issue until 2013, the King's Fund warned today in a report outlining good practice in the field.

Momentum on improving end-of-life care may be lost because of the government’s decision to delay a review of the issue until 2013, the King’s Fund warned today in a report outlining good practice in the field.

The think-tank said an opportunity could be missed to build on the progress already made in implementing the end-of-life care strategy, published in 2008 by the Labour government.

Its report drew on three schemes run by Marie Curie Cancer Care as part of its Delivering Choice programme, which aim to provide round-the-clock care for people nearing the end of life and ensure they are able to choose where they are cared for and die, through a multi-agency approach.

The fund said key priorities included identifying patients’ end-of-life care needs, improved training for non-specialist staff, boosting the availability of out-of-hours care and better co-ordination of health and social care.

“The Delivering Choice programme has provided a novel approach to improving end-of-life care by focusing on gaps in care and facilitating collaboration between health and social care providers,” said the report’s lead author, Dr Rachael Addicott.

 “While we welcome the government’s continued focus on end-of-life care, we are concerned that the decision not to hold a review until 2013 risks losing momentum and missing the opportunity to build on the progress already made.”

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