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End-of-life care concerns raised

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Concerns have been raised that some bodies introduced under the NHS reforms have not considered the needs of dying people.

Some 54% of Health and Wellbeing boards with public strategies have considered the needs of people at the end of their lives, the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC) said.

The NCPC said many of the new boards, which were introduced under the Health and Social Care Act, have failed to set out their strategies for end of life care.

Of 152 boards, 117 have published their health and wellbeing strategies.

But only 63 boards (54%) had explicitly considered end of life care, according to the NCPC - an umbrella organisation for palliative care providers in the UK.

The organisation said that the boards, which take on new responsibilities when the health reforms come into effect on April 1, must address the issue “as a matter of urgency”.

Simon Chapman, director of policy and parliamentary affairs at the NCPC, said: “Health and Wellbeing Boards are a key part of the Government’s new health reforms, so it is a cause of great dismay that almost half don’t appear to have plans in place to meet the needs of people who are dying in their area and those who care for them.

“There are excellent examples of where Health and Wellbeing Boards have set out what they plan to do on end of life issues, but this needs to be replicated across the country.

“We only have one chance to get care right for people at the end of their life, which is why we’re calling on those boards who have not yet set out how they will help meet the needs of people approaching the end of their life to do so as a matter of urgency.”

Sign our Speak Out Safely petition to support a transparent and open NHS. We are calling on the government to implement recommendations from the Francis report that will increase protection for staff who raise concerns about patient care.

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