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St Cuthbert’s Hospice in Durham has broadly welcomed the Governments response to the Review of Choice in End of Life Care.

The Review, which reported in 2015, made 30 recommendations to improve the quality of end of life care. Many of the recommendations have been accepted by the Government and the response, which was published this month, makes six commitments to people approaching the end of life. These are that people should be able to:

  • Have honest conversations
  • Make informed choices about their care
  • Develop a personal care plan
  • Share that plan with care professionals
  • Involve family and carers in their care, if they want to
  • Contact someone they know at any time, day or night, in  order to get the care they need it, when they need it

Paul Marriott, Chief Executive at St Cuthbert’s Hospice said,

“In County Durham the purchasers and the providers of end of life care meet together regularly in order to identify ways to improve end of life care and the Government’s commitment can only help to support this work. There needs to be a national as well as local focus on this issue.”

St Cuthbert’s remains one of a handful of Hospices around the country ranked as outstanding for the end of life care it provides. It has seen the number of patients it supports rise by 33% in the last 3 years, becoming the first Hospice to provide a specialist service for people with dementia and one of the first to pick up some of the key recommendations of the review by developing a community engagement project and piloting a new way of measuring the quality of the service it offers.

The Hospice is continuing to develop its services. It hopes to offer a new service to people with dementia that is recognised as innovative in the response and a new and transformed model of day care. This added value is possible thanks to the financial support it receives from the community and because of the extraordinary contribution that more than 400 volunteers make to the work of the Hospice.

Commenting on the response document, Paul Marriott said,

“It would have been even better if the Government had responded more favourably to the recommendations for more resources, and especially for free social care for people at the end of life. But even without more resources, we can make better use of the resources that are available if we all work more closely together and keep patients at the centre of everything we do”.

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