25 August 2010
Responding to the second Annual Report on the End of Life Care Strategy, Mike Hobday, Head of Policy at Macmillan Cancer Support, said:
'As the report rightly says, progress is being made, but Macmillan remains ambitious for further improvements.
'We know that most patients do not die in a hospital through choice. If they want to spend their final days at home surrounded by their loved ones they should be able to do so. Yet Macmillan’s recent report ‘Always There’ shows that nearly half of PCTs are still not providing the necessary out of hours care to enable people to die at home if they wish to.
'We cannot claim to have a world class health service if we continue to let down our most vulnerable patients just when they need the NHS most. People must have the choice to live their final days at home if they want to. It is appalling that so many still end up dying in hospital, often against their wishes, because they do not have the support to stay in their own home.
'Access to community nursing at whatever time its needed is the key to good end of life care and should be available for all patients. It would mean that if a patient needs pain relief in the middle of the night they can get medical care, but also support for the wider family caring for them too. 24/7 nursing care also significantly reduces emergency hospital admissions and enables patients to fulfil their end of life care preferences.
'Macmillan will continue to work with the government to make change happen.'
For further information, please contact:
Julie Wills, Assistant Media & PR Officer, Macmillan Cancer Support
020 7840 4933
Notes to editors:
Read Macmillan Cancer Support's ‘Always There’ report (2010) www.macmillan.org.uk/alwaysthere or access a summary at www.macmillan.org.uk/endoflife.
About Macmillan Cancer Support
Macmillan Cancer Support improves the lives of people affected by cancer, providing practical, medical, emotional and financial support. Working alongside people affected by cancer, Macmillan works to improve cancer care. One in three of us will get cancer. Two million of us are living with it. If you are affected by cancer Macmillan can help.
Call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00, Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm. Calls are free, including from mobiles, or visit www.macmillan.org.uk