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The Cross Party Group (CPG) on Hospices and Palliative Care in the Welsh Parliament, the Senedd, was established to maintain and develop understanding and interest by Members of the Senedd on issues affecting people who need hospice and palliative care, in the furtherance of improving palliative and end for life care for all in Wales.

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The CPG is Chaired by Mark Isherwood MS and Secretariat support is provided by Hospice UK.

Members are drawn from across all political parties:

  • Mabon ap Gwynfor MS
  • Rhun ap Iorwerth MS
  • Jayne Bryant MS
  • Jane Dodds MS
  • Janet Finch-Saunders MS
  • Mike Hedges MS
  • Altaf Hussain MS
  • Huw Irranca-Davies MS
  • Mark Isherwood MS
  • Darren Millar MS
  • Peredur Owen Griffiths MS

We are joined in meetings by stakeholders from across the health and care sector as well as by people with lived experience of palliative and end of life care.

Inquiry into end of life care during the pandemic

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CPG publish inquiry report into end of life care during the pandemic warning that we must prioritise care for people dying at home.

Over the last year the CPG ran an inquiry into experiences of palliative and end of life care in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time we received over 50 responses, the majority of which were from family members, unpaid carers, social workers, nurses and doctors from across Wales.

The inquiry sought to give people and organisations at the very sharp end of the pandemic a voice and a platform. We wanted to learn from their experiences of end of life care at home and in care homes so Wales is better prepared for any future disaster and better placed to meet the ongoing impacts of Covid and the cost of living crisis.

The CPG believe this is more important than ever before, considering demand for palliative care in the community is forecast to nearly double by 2040 and the pandemic has given us a glimpse into how our health and social care system will cope under similar pressures in the not so distant future.

We are pleased to finally publish the inquiry report and share its key findings:

  • Hospice and palliative care played a critical role in the pandemic response and was supported by a wave of community engagement and action. However, the massive increases in demand for care in the community revealed weaknesses in pre-pandemic planning.
  • Many people faced difficulties accessing end of life care at home and in care homes, increasing existing inequalities in palliative care and leading to some devastating experiences, including complex bereavement.
  • Health and social care workers went above and beyond to support patients and their families at end of life, facilitating a revolution in collaboration, innovation and creative working across primary, secondary and social care.

The Cross Party Group is keen to work together with partners to learn from these experiences and take forward the following key recommendations:   

  • Learn from the pandemic and build on good practice by ensuring palliative care is at the heart of plans for potential future pandemics; developing an electronic patient record with advance and future care preferences; nurturing innovation; and making sure the experiences of people and service providers in Wales are fully included in the UK Covid-19 Inquiry.
  • Pivot capacity into the community by prioritising the development of palliative care capacity in the community and upscaling existing good practice; ensuring the new quality statement for palliative and end of life care is supported by a detailed implementation plan and its values are hardwired into the development of a new National Care Service.
  • Make palliative and end of life care everybody‚Äôs business by supporting greater death literacy within communities; investing in hospices as experiential learning sites; addressing inequalities; and ensuring that workforce strategies prioritise the wellbeing, staffing, education and training needs of those working across the full spectrum of palliative and end of life care.

You can read the full inquiry report in Welsh and English.