Thousands missing out on palliative care

A report by the London School of Economics says palliative care system needs major overhaul

Thousands of dying patients across the UK are being left in pain because they are missing out on palliative care, warns a report published today by the London School of Economics.

The report, commissioned by Marie Curie, says although around 70% of deaths are caused by illnesses other than cancer - including respiratory and circulatory conditions - people without cancer only account for 20% of referrals to palliative care services.

Lead report author Josie Dixon, who is based in the LSE's Personal Social Services Research Unit, said: 'Part of the problem is that palliative care has traditionally been for people with cancer and there is currently a lack of suitable models of palliative care for people with non-cancer and increasingly complex conditions.'

The report also found just over 20% of UK hospitals offer 7-day-a week specialist palliative care and the quality of care is rated lower than a care home or hospice.

Marie Curie chief executive Jane Collins said: 'This report shows that some groups are getting a worse deal than others. We do not think this is good enough.'

'We hope that this compelling evidence is a catalyst for change and used by policy makers and care providers to improve how all people with a terminal illness are cared for in the UK,' added Dr Collins.


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