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End of Life Care Charities Call for Greater Patient Choice During Party Conferences

Sue Ryder is joining forces with Marie Curie and Help the Hospices during the 2013 political party conference season with a series of fringe events; Can Giving Patients Choice be Cost Effective for the NHS? – to raise awareness of the ‘demographic ticking time bomb’ facing demand for end of life care in the UK.

We are calling on the all parties to take a longer term view and commit to change to avoid a future end of life care crisis by investing in end of life care improvements across a range of settings, which will provide patients with greater choice and could also lead to greater efficiency and potential cost savings for the NHS.

Britain’s rapidly ageing population and increases in the number of people with multiple long-term conditions will mean that by 2030, the number of deaths each year will outnumber the number of births, rising by 17% to 590,000. NHS spending on end of life care is also expected to increase by £5 billion to £25 billion by 2030.

We argue that in order to improve patient choice, there should be greater focus on the provision of high quality end of life care across a wider range of settings, including hospices, at home, hospitals and care homes. They suggest that a key way to facilitate this could be through encouraging stronger partnerships between hospitals and hospices, in order to help improve hospital care.

The joint fringe events take place at the Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservative party conferences on 16th, 23rd and 30th September with panels consisting of health ministers, health professionals and policy experts. Norman Lamb, Minister of State for Care and Support, Rt Hon Andy Burnham and Dr Sarah Wollaston are expected to lead debates that will explore how giving patients and their family’s choice can lead to increased efficiency for the NHS.

Paul Woodward, Chief Executive at Sue Ryder said:

“Everyone across the health sector needs to be aware of the real threat of an end of life care crisis within the next two decades. Further investment and training in end of life care is urgently needed and we hope that all parties will not miss the opportunity to act now.”

David Praill, Chief Executive of Help the Hospices said:

“Demand for hospice care is rising rapidly and will peak within the next 20 years, largely due to the UK’s growing number of older people and those living with complex, chronic heath conditions. End of life care needs to rise higher up the political agenda now; otherwise too many people will be denied the vital support they need at the end of life, in the place of their choice.”

Dr Jane Collins, Chief Executive at Marie Curie Cancer Care said:

“We need to find ways of making it easier for those who want to, to move out of hospital and receive the care they want and need – whether that’s at home, in a care home or a hospice. We want all parties to give full consideration to high quality end of life care in their manifesto’s including fast track and free social care for those nearing the end of their lives.”

 

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