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Palliative care costs are too high, warn charities

Local partnerships offering alternative care are the way forward, says Hospice UK

A charity for hospice care is calling on the government to back a scheme that it claims could save the NHS 80 million a year and reduce hospital deaths by one fifth.

Hospice UK has teamed up with National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC) and Marie Curie to produce a report called Getting serious about prevention: enabling people to stay out of hospital at the end of life.

It warns that the NHS is still paying too much to care for people approaching the end of their life despite NHS Englands five-year plan to make 30 billion of savings by 2020.

It highlights statistics showing half of the people in England and Wales die in hospital and yet only 5% say this is where they want to end their lives.

The organisations have drawn up an extensive wish list of recommendations including:

  • Commissioning 24/7

A charity for hospice care is calling on the government to back a scheme that it claims could save the NHS £80 million a year and reduce hospital deaths by one fifth.

Hospice UK has teamed up with National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC) and Marie Curie to produce a report called Getting serious about prevention: enabling people to stay out of hospital at the end of life.

It warns that the NHS is still paying too much to care for people approaching the end of their life despite NHS England’s five-year plan to make £30 billion of savings by 2020.

It highlights statistics showing half of the people in England and Wales die in hospital and yet only 5% say this is where they want to end their lives.

The organisations have drawn up an extensive wish list of recommendations including:

  • Commissioning 24/7 care in community settings.
  • Better use of anticipatory prescribing of medicines.
  • Improving co-ordination between hospitals and community settings.
  • Encouraging better sharing of records of people’s end of life wishes.
  • A more proactive approach by health and care staff to identify and meet the needs of people approaching the end of life.

Hospice UK director of policy and advocacy Jonathan Ellis said: ‘The current over-reliance on hospital care for dying people goes against what the majority of people say they would prefer at the end of life.

‘Economically, it also makes little sense, particularly in these especially straitened times when NHS resources are under more pressure than ever before.

‘Hospice UK is calling on the government to back more local partnerships led by hospices offering alternative care which, if expanded nationally, could reduce the number of people dying in hospital by a fifth and also generate £80 million in savings for the NHS.'

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