Hospice UK responds to new Marie Curie report on poor communication in the NHS

Feb 29, 2016

Today, Marie Curie launches a new report which highlights the negative impact that poor communication in the NHS has on patient care and also public funds.

The report called 'A long and winding road – Improving Communications with patients in the NHS' highlights how inadequacies in communication between patients and healthcare professionals has a harmful effect on medical care, causes staff burnout and wastes much-needed NHS resources.

Practical solutions to help improve communication and low-cost interventions to help change behaviour and clinical practice are outlined in the report, which has been produced by former top civil servant Andrew McDonald.

Today Andrew, who has prostate cancer and Parkinson’s disease, will give a lecture entitled Let’s Talk about Cancer, hosted by the Royal College of Physicians and Marie Curie, where he will tell the story of his treatment for cancer.  

Commenting on the report, Dr Ros Taylor MBE, Clinical Director at Hospice UK, said:

“Good communication is at the heart of compassionate patient care. It builds trust, connection and better decision-making. So many cases of poor care of the dying are underpinned by poor or absent communication, and this really needs to change.

“As this report highlights, NHS clinical staff must get access and time to attend training on how to communicate sensitively with dying people and their families and have the confidence to initiate difficult conversations.

“Many hospices provide training to health professionals to help transform communication in end of life care. This work has huge potential now for further partnership working with colleagues in their local hospitals.

“We urge NHS England and Health Education England to make training a far greater priority, as part of their wider efforts to improve end of life care in hospitals.”

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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