Department of Health and Social Care
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£286m to improve end of life care for all

£286m to improve end of life care for all

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH News Release issued by The Government News Network on 16 July 2008

More people to be allowed the choice to die at home

Health Secretary Alan Johnson today launched the End of Life Care Strategy, backed with £286million to provide high quality care for all adults approaching the end of their life. It will help more people to die in the setting they choose, mainly at home surrounded by loved ones.

This will mean that by 2011 the government will have met the 2005 manifesto commitment to double the investment in palliative care. It will mean better quality care for patients by making it easier for individuals to bring about their own preferences around end of life care; promoting dignity and respect, properly co-ordinating services and supporting carers.

The new ten year strategy, the first of its kind, builds on the progress made in developing end of life care services since 2000. Areas it will particularly focus on include:

* Improved community services - asking PCTs, working with Local Authorities, to ensure that rapid response community nursing services are available in all areas 24/7. This will enable more people to be cared for and die at home if they wish

* Workforce training and development - to train health and social care professionals in assessing the needs of patients and carers and providing the best possible quality care

* Development of specialist palliative care outreach services - we will encourage PCTs and hospices to work together to develop specialist services in the community, which will support all adults regardless of their condition.

* Setting up a national End of Life Research initiative - to further understand how best to care for those at the end of their lives.

* Quality Standards - we will work with SHA Next Stage Review End of Life Care leads to develop quality standards against which PCTs and providers can assess themselves and be assessed by regulators.

Lord Darzi's Next Stage Review focused on End of Life Care as one of its key pathways, and this strategy follows on from the Review, helping to make that commitment a reality.

Launching the strategy today, Health Secretary Alan Johnson said:

"People coming to the end of their lives and their loved ones deserve high quality, compassionate and dignified care, on their own terms. This strategy will help make that happen.

"We have already made £40m available to hospices to improve environments and provide greater dignity for patients, and we recently invested £4.5m to help build a Marie Curie state of the art hospice in the West Midlands.

"Now this increased funding will continue momentum for improvement and help make sure that everyone gets access to high quality palliative care and has choice about where that care takes place."

Supporting the new Strategy, Hugh Grant, Marie Curie's Ambassador, said:

"Since 2004 Marie Curie Cancer Care has campaigned hard for the public to have the choice to die at home. I am delighted to see that the Government is now honouring its 2005 Manifesto pledge to double investment in end of life care."


Notes to Editors:

1. For a copy of the report see:

2. In its manifesto in 2005, the government committed to double the investment in palliative care. Given the lack of data on the cost of end of life care services, a decision was taken to interpret the manifesto commitment to mean doubling funding for specialist palliative care services.

3. It is estimated that when the manifesto commitment was made in 2005, expenditure on specialist palliative care services by the NHS was about £180m. This is, therefore, the amount of additional funding calculated to be needed to meet the manifesto commitment.

4. To support the strategy, the government is committing increased resources to implement the strategy amounting to:

£88m in 2009/10

£198m in 2010/11

5. Surveys of the general public have shown that the first preference for most people (56-74%) would be to die at home. In practice, however, only around 18% do so. 58% of people die in hospital, 17% in care homes, 4% in a hospice and 3% elsewhere.

6. The strategy has been developed by an expert advisory board chaired by Professor Mike Richards, National Cancer Director, and supported by six working groups. Over 300 stakeholders from statutory health, social care, third sector organisations, professional and academic institutions have worked with us in the development of the strategy

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