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Policy briefing

Advice on setting out of hours staffing levels for specialist palliative care

Guidance seeks to define the minimum nurse and doctor numbers required to maintain 24-hour specialist palliative care services in hospital, community and hospice settings

Guidance seeks to define the minimum nurse and doctor numbers required to maintain 24-hour specialist palliative care services in hospital, community and hospice settings

Essential information

While the importance of round-the-clock availability of specialist palliative care services has been recognised for more than a decade, it is often not available across all care settings.

The government in England says that by 2020 there should be 24-hour access to end of life care for people outside hospital, in line with national policy.

What’s new

Guidance issued in February 2018 sets out the staffing levels needed to provide minimum and desirable levels of service for 24-hour specialist palliative care in hospital, community and hospice settings.

The Night, Weekend and Bank Holiday Specialist Palliative Care Services document, produced by the Royal College of Physicians and the Association of


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