Today the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) publishes the 2015 Quality of Death Index – a measure of the quality of palliative care provided in 80 countries across the globe.
It shows that the UK leads the world in palliative care, ranking first in the index, due to its comprehensive national policies, strong hospice movement, the extensive integration of palliative care into the NHS and deep community engagement on the issue.
However, the index also highlights there is still room for improvement in the UK. It cites the report published by the health ombudsman earlier this year highlighting issues for concerns such as poor symptom control, poor communication and planning, inadequate out-of-hours services for dying people and delays in diagnosis and referrals for treatment.
In the last Quality of Death Index- which was published in 2010 and was based on 40 countries, the UK also came top although the earlier index was structured differently.
Commenting on the new index, Dr Ros Taylor MBE, National Director for Hospice Care at Hospice UK, said:
“We are delighted the UK continues to lead the field globally when it comes to the provision of high quality palliative care and that its strong hospice movement is recognised as such a key factor in this. However, it is clear, as highlighted in the health ombudsman report published earlier this year, there are still too many failings in end of life care in other settings.
“Hospitals are not always geared up to providing the right care, in some cases leading to appalling neglect. Recurring issues such as poor symptom management and insensitive communication with patients and families urgently need to be tackled. Better and more training in palliative care for hospital doctors and nurses will be vital to achieving a major turnaround in culture and practices and hospices have a major role to play in this by sharing their expertise.
“There also has to be a major cultural shift among healthcare providers, away from a predominately ‘cure and fix’ approach to one which recognises that dying requires a very different type of care, with more emphasis on enhancing an individual’s comfort and quality of life.
“In addition to tackling substandard palliative care in hospitals and other settings, there needs to be concerted action to reduce the high numbers of dying people in hospital, who would be much better supported in other settings, including hospices or their own homes. Not only would this provide more choice for dying people about where they spend their final days, it would also free up many hospital beds, at a time when the NHS is facing huge pressures.” ENDS
Notes to editor
- Hospice UK is the national charity for hospice care and the only membership body for organisations providing hospice care. We support and champion the work of more than 200 of these organisations across the UK.
- Hospices, and other organisations which provide hospice care, offer vital care for people with terminal or life-limiting conditions and also support their families and carers.
- For further information about hospice care follow us on Twitter @hospiceukPA.
- Get all the latest news from the hospice and palliative care sector, as well as patient stories, on ehospice UK at: www.ehospice.com/uk This service is managed by Hospice UK. You can also follow ehospice news on Twitter at @ehospicenews.
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