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We welcome Government’s proposals to improve end of life care

Posted by: Policy and campaigning 7 July 2016

Pancreatic Cancer UK welcomes the publication of the Government’s response to an independent review of choice in end of life care.

Access to good quality palliative care is vital for pancreatic cancer patients, both in managing the pain and symptoms related to the disease and the side effects of any treatment patients are receiving. Whilst there are examples of best practise, current provision of palliative care is patchy, with variations in access to palliative care services and in the quality of those services. 

We are therefore pleased that the response includes proposals to deliver better personalised care for patients reaching the end of their life; to ensure patients are better informed of their choices; to improve the coordination of end of life care; and to improve training for healthcare professionals involved in the provision of end of life care.

In particular, we welcome commitments to roll out Electronic Palliative Care Coordination Systems to all areas of the country by 2020 to support the sharing of information and to promote personalised care; the piloting of new ways to support clinicians to initiate meaningful conversation with patients about end of life care; and plans to ensure every local area is able to provide 24/7 access to support, advice and care. It is promising that the response also recognises the need to identify people approaching the end of life earlier so there is time to discuss palliative care needs and put in place a plan that meets individual’s needs and preferences.

Nonetheless, it is important that the proposals deliver improvements for all patients approaching the end of the life. For pancreatic cancer patients, this means access to timely, high-quality palliative that meets all their needs. For example, in some cases it may be appropriate to introduce palliative care earlier on to address symptoms related to the disease and side effects of treatment, such as dietary complications. We will be watching closely to ensure the proposals deliver the support and care pancreatic cancer patients need. 

You can read the Government’s response in full here