End-of-life care has historically been poorly organised, with large gaps in provision, depending on geography and diagnosis. Some of these gaps are a result of confusion regarding roles and responsibilities, including those of the GP and general practice. Patients and carers have suffered as a result.

Related document: End-of-life care

What did we explore?

To inform its work, the Inquiry panel commissioned a research project to examine the role of general practice in end-of-life care. End-of-life care considers what high-quality care in general practice might look like, how this might be measured, and what challenges remain for its delivery in general practice. The paper's author is Dr Rachael Addicott, Senior Research Fellow, The King's Fund.

What have we learnt about end-of-life care?

Key issues raised for debate include:

  • The importance of maintaining a dynamic database of patients with end-of-life needs, capturing their care preferences.
  • The GP’s role in co-ordinating care and communication across the wide range of health and social care professionals involved at end-of-life.
  • The need for continuity of GP care provision, especially when patient conditions change, and during out-of-hours periods.
  • The involvement of general practice in bereavement care and in minimising the health care risks of carers.

What's your view?

During the inquiry, we asked for your opinions on this care dimension. You can read the comments submitted below.

Related content


Richard Oliver

Comment date
16 June 2010
Helpful summary of the problems in providing EOLC. Note the theme of making EOLC an important part of the day job and need to find ways in which it gets the same priority as many of the other pressing needs in primary care. Note there was little about do not attempt resuscitation.

Chris Elliott

Comment date
20 June 2010
I believe that EOLC is a core activity for GPs. In my area we have a good hospice support network available. However I would like to have more direct discussion with hospice staff on the delivery of care and less letters/faxes, in my practice we always try to make ourselves readily available to other healthcare staff. I am concerned that the new emphasis on EOLC seems to have produced more forms to fill and that the time will be used for that rather than communicating with patient/carers/staff.