Implementation of the strategy has proved challenging, however, for a number of reasons: death and dying remain taboo subjects; the number of people dying is rising, putting extra pressure on end-of-life care services; budgets are likely to be limited in the coming years.
To help those who have responsibility for implementing the strategy, The King's Fund organised the Sir Roger Bannister Summit at Leeds Castle in November 2009 at which senior policy-makers, clinicians, managers, officials and academics could share the challenges and suggest practical solutions.
Delivering better care at end of life: the next steps includes papers given at the summit – covering issues including commissioning, hospice and hospital care, quality markers, challenges for providers – and an account of the debate generated. It identified 10 critical actions to help the successful implementation of the strategy. It should be invaluable for those seeking to improve the quality of the care offered to patients at the end of life.