Today the British Medical Association (BMA) publishes a major report on end of life care highlighting that some doctors go on treating patients beyond the point that it provides benefit because of pressure from relatives or a fear of a perceived “failure".
The report, which draws on the views of 237 doctors and 269 members of the public, calls for wide-ranging changes to the way the NHS handles end of life care.
Responding to the report, Dr Ros Taylor MBE, Clinical Director at Hospice UK, said:
“This report by the BMA highlights the pressures faced by doctors to prolong medical treatment for dying people after the point when it provides any benefit. This is often due to a lack of confidence of many doctors to have meaningful conversations about the goals of care and what matters to people.
“Compassionate and honest communication with patients and their families lies at the heart of good care and more doctors need to be given the right support and training to explore options of care that add life to days, rather than days to life.
“The need for training for doctors has been highlighted in numerous other reports, and until there is action on this issue, sadly more dying people and their families will be let down by the healthcare system just when they need it most.
“Hospices have considerable expertise and experience in care, decision-making and difficult conversations and can offer education and placements to doctors. Many hospices are already working in partnerships with local hospitals to share their culture of compassionate care but more hospitals and GPs needs to engage in this work.”
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.