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Inadequate end of life support

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

Researchers at the London School of Economics have stated that more than 100,000 people a year who require end of life care are just not getting it. Their recently published report describes the current system as sadly lacking and in need of a “major overhaul”. Terminally ill patients are being left suffering with insufficient pain relief and support.

In the report it was identified that increase in demand due to patients living longer meant that access to good care was unequally shared, with the problem forecast to deteriorate as time passes. People from ethnic backgrounds, people living alone, people living in deprived areas and the “oldest old” (aged 85 and over), are those most likely to experience the lack in adequate care. It found that although cancer accounts for less than 33% of deaths, cancer patients received the most palliative care. 

Could save NHS more than £30m

Commissioned by the Marie Curie Foundation, the report states that adequate end of life care could save the NHS more than £30m in England, £2m in Wales, £1m on Northern Ireland and £4m in Scotland and could give thousands of patients a much improved end of life experience.

In a separate MORI poll commissioned by Marie Curie, 500 health professionals who provide palliative care to end of life patients, feel that staffing and funding must be improved if the level of care required is to be met. In a poll of 1,067 carers the feeling was also that the system is failing to offer adequate support.

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