APPG: March 2013

The Reforms Are Here! Making end of life care a national and local priority


The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Hospice & Palliative Care met on the 20th March and held a lively discussion about how to keep end of life care a national and local priority in the changing health and care landscape.

A key message of the meeting was that while the Government’s reforms are creating significant change in the health and social care landscape, people’s needs remain constant and that excellent palliative and end of life care must still be provided, regardless of the current uncertainty and handover in roles and responsibilities.

A new publication was launched at the meeting, produced jointly by NCPC and Marie Curie Cancer Care, called 10 Questions to ensure good end of life care in your area. This document aims to help people in their localities scrutinise and challenge MPs, GP Commissioners, councillors and other decision makers regarding end of life care. It will be used as the basis for our future campaigning around end of life care and sets out key information people need to champion end of life care in their area. This document is free for all NCPC Subscribers to download and we would encourage you to start to use it now!

Find out more and how you can get copies here

The meeting heard from a group of people from West Sussex about what end of life care is like in their area and what they are doing to try to make it a local priority. Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council and Chair of the Health & Wellbeing Board, gave a very well-received speech highlighting why getting end of life care right is so important and how it could be an exemplar for the coordination of care more generally. She explained how she is using the 10 Questions document to understand the state of end of life care in West Sussex.

The group then heard from Mandy Paine MBE, NCPC and Dying Matters Champion, and Nick Herbert MP for Arundel & South Downs. Mandy gave a powerful account of the benefits and challenges of accessing end of life care in West Sussex and the importance of local campaigning to help ensure that commissioners and providers deliver excellent care to all. Nick Herbert MP followed on from this, highlighting the renewed national focus on care and compassion within the health services and how this must now trickle down to the local agenda.  He has written with further reflections here

Mandie Sunderland, Chief Nurse, and Dawn Chaplin, Clinical Dean for Nursing, from Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT)  joined the meeting to talk about their three year partnership with Dying Matters to develop a programme of compassionate care and support in their trust. They outlined why it is so important to create a culture of compassionate care within our NHS, at every level and with communities and how this can be done, especially in light of the recent Francis report. Professor Juliet Beal, Director of Nursing for Quality Improvement & Care at the NHS Commissioning Board, then painted a picture of what the NHS Commissioning Board’s focus with will be and how this reflects and supports the Dying Matters and HEFT partnership.

Chair of the APPG Fabian Hamilton MP concluded the meeting with the reflection that:

“The message today is clear: we need to do all that we can to ensure that these reforms improve care for people at the end of life and their families [...] It is not just a question of asking new commissioners to make end of life care a priority, we must be prepared to offer them our support, encouragement, expertise and evidence. We have the tools to do this, not least this excellent new guide with the 10 questions to ask that we launched today. This must be a collective effort by all of us”

To view a copy of the event programme, please click here

Presentations from the day can be downloaded here