1 June 2011
Responding to the Royal College of Nursing and Royal College of GPs patient charter for end of life published today, Mike Hobday, Head of Policy of Macmillan Cancer Support, said:
'This charter is a welcome first step in tackling the issue of inadequate provision of end of life care. It provides a positive framework and stresses the crucial importance of early conversations about patients’ wishes, but what we now need to see is the details. We want to know what commitment GPs, who will soon be commissioning services, are going to make to ensure necessary support is, such as 24/7 community nursing is in place.
'Without such a commitment we will never see anything close to the 73%* of people living with cancer who want to die at home, being able to do so.'
Alison, 47, Dorset wanted to help her father die at home, but was not able to access the vital 24/7 community nursing support which would have allowed this to happen. She said:
'I took on the role of full time carer for my terminally ill father. Overnight care was a real worry. I felt lost and uncertain when he deteriorated and overwhelmed by the responsibility of making a decision whether to call an ambulance. I did and in the early morning he was in a hospital cubicle. It took hours before he got his own room and despite a morphine pump was in a lot of pain.'
*Statistic taken from Macmillan February 2010 online survey of 1,019 UK adults living with cancer. Seventy-three percent of people with cancer said they would prefer to die at home if all their concerns about dying at home (such as access to pain relief, round the clock care, and support for their family and carers) were addressed.
For further information, please contact:
Andrea Shufflebotham, Media & PR Officer, Macmillan Cancer Support
020 7840 4689 (out of hours 07801 307068)
Notes to Editors:
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.
For more information about Macmillan Cancer Support, visit www.macmillan.org.uk or freephone 0800 500 800 for an information pack.