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NHS must give good ‘end of life’ care says an independent review

The NHS in England has failed to show responsibility for ensuring good palliative care, according to an independent review.


The head of Marie Curie Cancer Care, who conducted the analysis, says this has led to a "postcode lottery" in funding and service quality.


Tom Hughes Hallett's report calls for the NHS to provide key services such as round-the-clock community care.


Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said people needed "compassionate" care.


The paper does highlight some organisations that are doing an excellent job but it says funding and services have developed ad hoc. It cites a Department of Health survey in 2008 which revealed that palliative care expenditure across primary care trusts ranged from £154 to £1,684 per death.


[quote bottom=it states]The 'postcode lottery' within palliative care means that patients with the same diagnosis in different geographical locations can expect very different levels of service. [/quote] The review says although most people say they would like to be cared for and die in their own home or care home, the proportion who achieve this is "very small".


The paper goes on to emphasise that more people will need care and support at the end of their lives in future, with the annual number of deaths expected to rise by 17% from 2012 to 2030.


[quote top=In a statement the health secretary for England, Andrew Lansley, said:] We need to ensure that the care people receive at the end of life is compassionate, appropriate and gives people choices in where they die and how they are cared for. [/quote]