The King's Fund response to End of Life Care strategy

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Welcoming the publication of the government’s End of Life Care Strategy today, The King’s Fund’s chief executive Niall Dickson said:

‘For too long our health care system has not done nearly enough to ensure that care at the end of life is the best it can be. Too many patients have been denied choice and relatives and carers have been marginalised.

‘We know that the vast majority of patients want to die at home yet we have not developed the services to enable this to happen. This strategy is a wake-up call – if it is heard we can create a set of services that provide choice and a better quality of care to those approaching the end of life.

‘The extra resources are extremely welcome and so is the emphasis on developing new services and learning how they work. The proposal to create an Intelligence Network to bring together researchers and commissioners of care is a sensible response to the challenge of developing evidence-based practice in this complex area.

‘If this strategy is to make a difference though it will need a change in attitudes and priorities – patients should be able to feel comfortable talking openly about how they would like their lives to end with both their families and those providing their care.’

Notes to editors

  1. For further information or interviews, please contact The King’s Fund media and public relations office on 020 7307 2585, 020 7307 2632 or 020 7307 2581. An ISDN line is available for interviews on 020 7637 0185.

  2. The King’s Fund seeks to understand how the health system in England can be improved. Using that insight, we help shape policy, transform services and bring about behaviour change. Our work includes research, analysis, developing leaders and improving services. We also offer a wide range of resources to help everyone working in health share knowledge, learning and ideas.

  3. An evaluation by The King’s Fund of the Marie Curie Delivering Choice programme earlier this year found that it represented a cost effective model of care which presented no additional costs to the NHS and therefore made choosing to die at home a real option for dying patients.

  4. The End of Life Care Strategy also makes reference to The King’s Fund’s work on the Enhancing the Healing Environment programme, which aims to physically improve the environment for those who are dying and their relatives.