Skip to main content

Palliative Care

Volume 473: debated on Friday 14 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health by what mechanisms his Department maintains standards in care plans for people in receipt of end of life care. (194377)

The Supportive and Palliative Care Guidance published by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that assessment and discussion of patients’ needs for physical, psychological, social, spiritual and financial support should be undertaken at key points during the care pathway and that cancer networks should ensure a unified approach to the assessment and recording of patients’ needs. The national health service has been required to set out action plans to achieve compliance with the NICE recommendations and cancer networks now have this unified approach in place. Implementation is being monitored by strategic health authorities. The End of Life Care Strategy, which covers care for all adult patients and which is due to be published this summer, will also address this issue.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance his Department has issued on co-ordination of the provision of choice and dignity in end of life care between strategic health authorities, primary care trusts and hospices in the last twelve months. (194378)

The Department has not issued guidance on the co-ordination of the provision of choice and dignity in end of life care between strategic health authorities, primary care trusts and hospices in the last 12 months. However, the 2008-09 NHS Operating Framework, which clearly sets out a relatively small number of main priorities for the NHS for the coming year, states that a key element of the forthcoming national End of Life Care Strategy for adults will be to improve people’s access to high-quality services, close to their home. Central to the delivery of this change will be the development of rapid-response services and co-ordination centres. The strategy, which is due to be published this summer, will, among other issues, also address choice and dignity in end of life care.