Notes to editors
1. The report is the result of a two-year research and development project supported by The King's Fund. Five London primary care trusts took part in the project, and we gathered information from a total of 565 people through needs assessments, focus groups, structured postal questionnaires and interviews.
2. Family doctors are the first point of contact for patients and retain overall medical responsibility for patients cared for at home whilst both district nurses and clinical nurse specialists provide advice, information and emotional support to patients and their families. Under the new GP contract, introduced in 2004, all family doctors must offer general management of patients who are terminally ill as an essential service.
3. Each year, the average family doctor supports five patients dying from cancer and 15 dying from other causes, including progressive non-malignant diseases such as heart failure. Eight of these patients may die under the care of the family doctor and others within hospices and hospitals.
4. Improving end of life care will be one of four specific areas that will be targeted by The King's Fund's new funding and development programme - Partners for Health In London. Starting in summer 2005, the programme will have over £1 million annually to share between four key health areas (end-of-life care, sexual health, mental health advocacy and integrated health care) and will provide development support for organisations who receive grants.
5. The King's Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through grants. We are a major resource to people working in health, offering leadership and education courses; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities.