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Reaction to new end-of-life Priorities for Care

The Leadership Alliance for the Care of Dying People, made up of 21 national health and care organisations, has published One chance to get it right which contains the Priorities for Care as the new basis for caring for patients at the end of their life.

One chance to get it right is the response to the recommendations set out in More Care, Less Pathway, the independent review of the Liverpool Care Pathway.

Here is the key reaction:

Professor Sir Mike Richards, CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals

“The ethos of the Alliance’s five priorities for care is mirrored in CQC’s new inspection approach to make sure that people receive safe, effective and compassionate care at the end of their life.

“Where we care for someone who is dying – whether that is in a hospital, a nursing home or in a person’s own home – is irrelevant. What is important is that the person receives individual care based on their needs, delivered with compassion and sensitivity by health and care professionals and that there is regular and effective communication between staff and the dying person and their family. These are priorities which must be embraced across the whole NHS – and by other care providers – for it to make a real difference.

“CQC is fully committed to ensuring the quality of end of life care continues to improve. End of life care  is one of the eight core services we are looking at during each hospital inspection, and we plan to include end of life care in our inspections of other services where it is delivered.”

Dr Anita Donley, RCP clinical vice-president

“The Priorities for Care will enable staff to provide compassionate care that focuses on the individual’s needs, and the needs of those important to them. Poor communication with both dying patients and their relatives, carers and friends was identified as a major area for improvement in the recent National Care of the Dying Audit for Hospitals, led by the RCP, so we are delighted that sensitive communication forms one of the five Priorities for Care.

“The RCP was proud to be one of 21 organisations in the Leadership Alliance for the Care of Dying People, an alliance that involved royal colleges, charities, regulators and professional organisations, all working together regardless of professional boundaries to produce the Priorities for Care with patients’ needs at heart.”

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the General Medical Council

“It is a failure of our system that some patients near the end of their lives still suffer needlessly. Doctors have a key role in making sure that every dying patient receives high quality care delivered with sensitivity and compassion, no matter where they are being cared for – and that means listening to the needs and wishes of the patient and those close to them.

“This is one of the most challenging areas of care. The new Priorities for Care in England, together with our existing guidance, should help doctors make the right decisions, sometimes in difficult situations. We are strongly committed to playing our part in this and will work with medical schools, hospitals and doctors on the frontline to raise awareness and help turn these principles into practice.”

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