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Dying patients need better care

The UK Department of Health has announced plans to fund improvements to services for dying patients and their families after it was revealed that the standard of palliative care across the county is at an unacceptably low level
The UK Department of Health has announced plans to fund improvements to services for dying patients and their families after it was revealed that the standard of palliative care across the county is at an unacceptably low level.

Chief executive of the King's Fund, Niall Dickson, said that the NHS is still not doing enough to provide an adequate level of care to patients at the end of their life. A total of 58 per cent of all recorded deaths occur in NHS hospitals.

"Dying patients and their families, like recovering patients, deserve dignity and a caring environment, but too often they are not experiencing this," said Dickson. "This new programme is an important step towards better care for a much neglected group."

The Department of Health is providing funding worth £1m for a King's Trust-led programme to transform and upgrade wards used for dying patients and their families. Nurse-led multidisciplinary teams at 20 sites across the county will be given an initial budget of £40,000 to improve services and create dedicated palliative care beds, bereavement suites and refurbish mortuary viewing facilities.

Care Services Minister, Ivan Lewis, said: "How we care for the dying is an indicator of how we care for all sick and vulnerable people. It is a measure of society as a whole and in particular it is a litmus test for health and social care services.

"These projects will help ensure that all people are treated with dignity and respect at the end of their lives," he concluded.

15th May 2008

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