End of life. Not end of choice

Too often, people’s wishes about care and support at the end of life aren’t being met. This needs to change. Everyone should be able to die in the place and manner of their choosing – and the government and NHS England must make this happen.

Campaign success – Our voices were heard

On 5 July 2016 the government announced a new commitment to improve end of life care in England. This is the announcement we’ve been campaigning for. It is vital to ensure that end of life doesn’t mean end of choice.

‘We lost Dave, our lovely brother, partner, dad, son and uncle just over two years ago. I am pleased that the government has listened to the voices of those who have experienced just how hard it can be caring for someone at the end of life.’ Marie, a Macmillan end of life care campaigner

The government’s response to the independent review of choice in end of life sets out an action plan to deliver high quality, personalised end of life care. This means everyone at the end of life will be given: 

  • A personalised care plan 
  • The potential for a new care coordinator role 
  • Better access to nurses and healthcare professionals in the community 

To find more about the governments promises, read the full response in 'Our commitment to you on end of life care'.

We all deserve high quality end of life care

  • Almost 80% of people want to die at home, however only 30% are able to do so.
  • If nothing is done by 2020, we estimate 1.3m people will have had their last wish denied. 
  • Shockingly, only one in five of those with cancer who are able to die at home have complete pain relief all of the time in the last three months of life.

Sadly death, dying and bereavement affects us all. Nearly 144,000 people a year in England are expected to die of cancer by 2020 – that’s one person dying of the disease every four minutes. Currently, too many of these patients die without adequate pain relief or being involved in vital decisions about their end of life care, including where they would like to spend their final days. Often people wish to die at home but most are unable to do so because of a lack of support.

We believe everyone should be able to die in the place of their choosing while receiving the high quality, personalised care to ensure they are comfortable and pain free in those final moments.

What we want to happen

We’re urgently calling on the government to keep their promise to ensure people get high quality end of life care. The government must fund and implement recommendations made in the independent review of choice in end of life care so we all get the high quality care we deserve.

The campaign so far

  • To help raise awareness that last wishes matter we asked you to share a wish. We wanted to show that while we all have different wishes throughout our lives, we all share the desire to choose where we die.
  • We made it easy for you to tweet your wish to your local MP so that they know where you stand on this important issue too. Thanks to all you who took part.

A silhouette of a dandelion symbolising end of life

Our campaigners wrote an open letter

Nikki and Marie’s experience of caring for their loved ones moved them to write an open letter to the Chancellor, George Osborne – supported by Macmillan.

Nikki and Marie took their letter to an event we held in Parliament. They shared their personal experiences of looking after someone at the end of their life and urged MPs and Peers to show their support.

Thank you to over 20,000 campaigners who signed Nikki and Marie’s letter. We delivered your signatures to Downing Street, to show the Chancellor we wanted his commitment in the government’s 2015 spending review.

Nikki and Marie with a copy of their letter signed by MPs

Nikki and Marie with a copy of their letter signed by MPs