Marie Curie Cancer Care is teaming up with the Royal College of GPs to create new guidelines for primary care teams looking after patients at the end of their lives.
It forms part of a three-year partnership aimed at improving end of life care, including for vulnerable patients such as those with dementia and learning disabilities.
The programme will focus on advanced care planning, pain management, health inequalities and commissioning issues, alongside patient choice on place of death.
As well as proposing new clinical guidelines for GPs and primary care teams, RCGP and Marie Curie will launch a series of online tool kits for healthcare professionals. They will also promote primary care training in end of life care.
RCGP president Professor Mike Pringle announced the move at the Annual Primary Care Conference in Harrogate.
The programme will be led by Dr Peter Nightingale, who is the joint RCGP and Marie Curie clinical lead for end of life care.
Dr Nightingale will host a series of regional events around the UK allowing key stakeholders to share expertise on how to best commission services and promote best practice.
Dr Nightingale said: “End of life care is a critical area for GPs as it affects nearly everyone at some stage in their lives. It has been a priority for the College since 2008 and this partnership is an exciting opportunity to really make a difference to the clinical care and compassion that patients receive at the end of their lives.”
Marie Curie medical director Dr Bill Noble said the charity is committed to working with GPs and those who commission services to improve care.
He added: “GPs play an essential role in caring for patients at the end of their lives - especially those who are cared for at home. Ensuring better pain control for these patients is likely to be a high priority.
“Furthermore, it is important that those people nearing the end of life are identified early to enable better planned and coordinated care in line with their needs and wishes. GPs are key to achieving this and we hope that our partnership will deliver tangible benefits to patients, their families and the GPs who support them.”
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