Ahead of his question in parliament today, Conservative peer Lord Farmer stresses the urgent need to raise standards of a palliative care system that is neither ‘effective or responsive’.
Britain has a proud history of good end of life care. The modern hospice movement started here and rapid developments in the clinical specialism of palliative medicine have been seen in the last few decades. A 2010 survey by The Economist ranked Britain first amongst 40 OECD and non-OECD nations in terms of quality of care for the dying.
However, a recent report by the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman found that some people at the end of their lives experience unnecessary pain and suffering and that end of life care services need to improve. The 136 people cited in the report were let down by a system that was simply not effective or responsive enough to provide patients with the pain relief they needed at the end of their lives. They were failed by a system that knows what to do but is not doing it.