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Palliative Care

Volume 479: debated on Monday 1 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures he has set for the assessment of the (a) implementation, (b) achievement against objectives and (c) effect on end of life care of his Department’s end of life care strategy. (221426)

The number of deaths which occur in the home is one of the national indicators which have been agreed with the Department for Communities and Local Government. Local areas are required to report progress against these indicators. Supporting care provision in the community, and enabling more people to die at home, is a central component of the End of Life Care Strategy.

The Government are committed to delivering increased investment in end of life care services.

National quality standards are also being developed against which primary care trusts and providers can assess themselves and be assessed by regulators.

The Department will also undertake piloting work to develop a national survey of bereaved relatives, which will provide important information on the quality of care provision.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the cost of implementation of the end of life care strategy; and how it will be funded from the NHS and from (a) the voluntary and (b) the independent sectors. (221427)

The impact assessment for the End of Life Care Strategy sets out the estimated costs associated with the implementation of the strategy.

The Government have made £286 million of funding available in the two years to 2011 to cover the costs of implementation. The majority of this funding will be made available to primary care trusts and strategic health authorities, who are responsible for commissioning services and education and training from local providers, including the independent and voluntary sector. The additional resources also include a capital fund of £40 million, to be made available in 2010-11, for the voluntary hospice sector.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding mechanisms his Department has examined for the facilitation of the flow of funds from the commissioners to the providers of end of life care services. (221428)

Several local health economies are currently investigating Payment by Results (PbR)-type funding approaches for specialist palliative care and community services, as PbR “development sites”. However, we currently have no timetable for including end of life care in PbR.

The End of Life Care Strategy sets out the importance of strong commissioning of services by both primary care trusts (PCTs) and local authorities (LAs). This will be informed by the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment that all PCTs and LAs are required to produce from April 2008.

The strategy also reminds PCTs and LAs of the need to comply with the Compact on Relations between Government and the voluntary and community sector in England, which should provide a fair playing field for all service.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he plans to take to ensure that health and social care staff receive training in end of life care to enable them to deliver the objectives of the end of life care strategy. (221431)

To underpin and support training for health and social care staff, the Department has commissioned Skills for Health and Skills for Care to develop end of life care competence frameworks. e-Learning for Healthcare are also being commissioned to develop end of life care e-learning modules that will provide free access to registered users across both health and social care.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the cost of training health and social care staff in end of life care to enable them to deliver the objectives of the end of life care strategy. (221432)

The Impact Assessment for the End of Life Care Strategy sets out the estimated costs, and the rationale behind them, associated with training the health and social care work force to support the delivery of the strategy.