Responding today to the statement by Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham MP that a future Labour government would commit to introducing free personal care for people at the end of their lives, Jonathan Ellis, Director of Policy & Advocacy at Help the Hospices said:
"Social care is hugely important for terminally ill people and their families who currently face many obstacles to getting the support they need, including means testing. It is wrong that people at the end of their lives are charged for the social care that can make all the difference between dying in a hospital bed or at home.
"As part of a coalition of end of life care charities, we are calling on all political parties to commit to improving the care and support available to dying people, including the removal of the social care means test for people with a terminal illness. Social care support for people at the end of life must be free and fast.
"We welcome this statement from the Labour Party and look forward to working with other political parties to ensure free social care is available to people approaching the end of life.
Providing more support in people's homes will become increasingly important in the future, particularly if we are to reduce unnecessary and costly hospital admissions for people at the end of life, who would be better cared for in other settings."
Notes to Editor
- Help the Hospices is the national charity for hospice care which supports and champions the work of more than 200 hospices across the UK.
- Help the Hospices has been working with a coalition of charities which include: NCPC, Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care, the MND Association and Sue Ryder for free social care for people at the end of life.
- The coalition of charities has called on all the main parties to improve the care and support that people receive at the end of life, including a commitment to free social care for people at the end of life.
- Hospices provide vital care for people with terminal illnesses and life-limiting conditions and they also support their families.
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