Hospice UK, which runs the Dying Matters campaign, has responded to a new report from the University of Bath’s Institute for Policy Research (IPR) that says that the UK is ‘ill prepared’ to respond to the needs of our ageing population.
The IPR Policy Brief calls for “a radical rethink [to] our overall approach to death and dying.” It says that “public policies on death have evolved piecemeal over decades and in silos,” resulting in “general ill preparedness right across society in facing up to death and its social and economic consequences.”
The Dying Matters campaign, which started in 2010, aims to get people to feel comfortable talking about dying, death and bereavement, and to get end of life plans in place including making a will and writing a funeral plan.
Commenting in response, Tracey Bleakley, CEO of Hospice UK, said:
“This report shows the full extent of how much more needs to be done to support dying people and those who are bereaved. Its findings are very concerning and shows the UK is unprepared to support the needs of our ageing population.
“Hospice UK’s recent research shows that one in four people who would have benefitted from hospice care miss out on the vital support they need. With the number of annual deaths expected to increase in the coming decades, we have to act now to address this.
“There are challenges in this report for national and local government, the NHS and other health and social care providers, the funeral industry and employers. And there are massive challenges for all of us as a society. When are we going to discuss death and dying? When are we going to get our plans in place? And, crucially, when are the changes to policy and funding going to happen so that all of us can get the care and support we need at the end of our lives?”