APPG: November 2011

What is the future role for hospices and the voluntary sector?

Parliamentarians joined key representatives from the sector to discuss the future role of hospices and the voluntary sector in delivering end of life care in an ever-shifting environment.

Speaking at the 23rd November meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Hospice and Palliative Care, Help the Hospices Chair Lord Howard affirmed that adaptation was at the core of the hospice movement and expressed confidence in hospices’ ability to “adapt and innovate” in the face of a changing landscape.

Professor Sir Mike Richards, the National Clinical Director for End of Life Care, concurred that “the hospice movement has set the way” in the provision of gold-standard care, and urged hospices actively to facilitate the transfer of their enormous expertise to health and social care more broadly to ensure more people could benefit from high-quality care at the end of life.

Continuing on in the theme of innovation, Chief Executive of Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice and NCPC trustee Kate Heaps launched a new publication Are You There? which encourages specialist palliative care providers to review their inpatient admissions policies and make contact with the Clinical Commissioning Groups that are beginning to emerge to find new ways of working.

Practical experience of local innovation and partnership was given by Sue Ryder in West Berkshire and Rotherham Hospice, who had both (independently) undergone a transition into a joint working arrangement in their localities. Challenges included the cultural and liability issues that arise when staff are transferred from the NHS into the voluntary sector, and the relationship aspects of a large national or local charity working in partnership with smaller local charities. Other issues raised included differences between the NHS and voluntary sector on irrecoverable VAT. Angela Gurr and Micky Forde, who have been involved in the user group at Nettlebed Hospice, gave a personal perspective on what high-quality palliative and end of life care means to people accessing services.  

Margot James MP, Vice Chair of the APPG, expressed her optimism that the sector was taking advantage of the changing health and social care landscape to ensure that they continue to have the extraordinary impact for people at the end of life.

Chair of the APPG Fabian Hamilton MP launched the Dying Matters coalition winter campaign “Look out for those alone this Christmas.

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