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Many CCGs fail to make the needs of dying people a priority


23 May 2016

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More than a quarter of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) do not have a strategy for addressing end of life care for adults in their area.

In a report, A Low Priority?, published by Hospice UK, it was found that, in addition to this 27%, more than seven-in-10 CCGs do not have a strategy for supporting children and young people living with life-shortening conditions.

More than a quarter of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) do not have a strategy for addressing end of life care for adults in their area.

In a report, A Low Priority?, published by Hospice UK, it was found that, in addition to this 27%, more than seven-in-10 CCGs do not have a strategy for supporting children and young people living with life-shortening conditions.

Despite this, half a million people in England will die this year but not all will have access to quality palliative and end of life care.

There are an estimated 92,000 adults in England every year who require palliative care but are not able to get the support they need.

This accounts for almost a sixth of all deaths.

Furthermore, 34% of health and wellbeing boards (HWBs) do not consider the needs of dying people in their assessments of the health and care needs of their local populations.

Meanwhile, 57% of HWBs do not include the needs of dying adults and children in their key strategies that inform local service planning.

In light of these findings, Hospice UK is calling for HWBs and CCGs to develop palliative and end of life care strategies in a more co-ordinated way.

Hospice UK hopes to see more integration between health and social care providers from different sectors, to support the increasingly complex care needs of our ageing population.

The charity would also like to see Ambitions for Palliative and End of Life Care, the initiative launched last year by a coalition of 27 national health and care organisations, to form the basis of plan to improve these services locally.

Tracey Bleakley, chief executive of Hospice UK, said: “End of life care needs to become a core priority at a local level.

“A string of national reports has highlighted persistent failings in end of life care and what needs to change.

“However, there is little prospect of progress without a radical shift in approach by local health and care decision-makers.

“We recognise that HWBs and CCGs face considerable challenges in delivering services, amidst financial constraints and competing priorities.

“As providers, funders and leaders of palliative and end of life care, hospices are in a strong position to help with these challenges and ready to share their expertise to expand and improve care for dying people.”

Hospice UK surveyed 152 HWBs and 209 CCGs in England in February 2016, with responses received from 143 HWBs and 198 CCGs.

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