Government policy on end of life care in England

Hospices have been the main provider of specialist palliative care in the UK since their inception but now the Government is taking a more active interest in how end of life care services are delivered.  The End of Life Care strategy is England’s first national strategy for end of life care.  During the Governments NHS Next Stage Review, Strategic Health Authorities in England reviewed a range of priority services, including end of life care.  All Primary Care Trusts in England will have to produce a five year strategic plan by May 2009 and end of life care should be incorporated into this.  In response, opposition parties are developing more sophisticated policies on end of life care meaning the trend is likely to continue under future Governments.

What are the implications?

  • Growing expectation from Government and statutory agencies that hospice services will operate within the framework of the NHS Next Stage Review and End of Life Care Strategy.
  • Hospices who engage with the new framework could be seen as an early implementer.  Hospices who opt out will arguably be left on the sidelines as a small contributor to the needs of those looking for excellence.
  • High profile debates and competition to produce the best policies to deliver end of life care may lead to the politicisation of end of life care.

Moving forward

As the Strategy and Next Stage Review are implemented locally independent hospices will be directly affected and presented with a number of opportunities and challenges.

  • In what ways could your organisation influence how end of life care services are delivered?
  • Is your organisation prepared for changes resulting from the implementation of the Strategy and the Next Stage Review?
  • How might a change of government impact on your services? How can you ensure that your plans are flexible enough to reflect the potential uncertainty?

Want to know more?

Securing Good Care for More People

Published by: The Kings Fund

Date: 2010

Format: downloadable pdf (394kb) or purchasable hard copy

What is it? This presents the finding of the Kings Fund's followup to their review in 2006 of funding of social care for older people. It has their conclusions, a host of relevant statistics as well as a section on trends and developments. The report not only presents the financial implications of key funding models but also assesses their outcomes, including unmet need.

How useful is this? The breadth of the review and this consequent report is its value. It looks at issues such as the scale of unmet need, growing pressure on resources as well as demographic influences. Good for a comprehensive understanding of how many inter-related issues contribute to an overall trend.

NHS National End of Life Care Programme

Published by: The NHS

Format: Website

What is it? The National End of Life Care Programme has been set up to support health and social care professionals to implement the End of Life Care Strategy.

How useful is this? If you want to find out more about the Strategy, this website is invaluable for keeping you updated (obviously bearing in mind, it will be the official line on everything). The tools and case studies are good for bringing the strategy to life. Particularly pertinent for those who work on delivering this strategy

Last updated at 11:36 Thu 22/Jul/10.

Discuss

How will this affect your organisation? Have you considered it during your strategic planning? Can you share any interesting relevant links?

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