A project, involving a nursing charity and a medical college, has been launched to help identify and promote best practice on end of life care in primary care services.
The Spotlight project is a joint piece of work by the charity Marie Curie and the Royal College of GPs, who said they were working together to support primary care staff in “ensuring that high quality palliative care is available across the UK”.
“Expertise, care and support needs to be firmly rooted in the community”
It will build on the foundations of the previous three-year Clinical Priorities programme, they said.
The new one-year project will seek to identify best practice in end of life care pathways and aims to work with other professional bodies to ensure this best practice is widely disseminated, the two organisations said. It will also be offering learning and sharing experience to practice staff.
In addition, the RCGP and Marie Curie are to undertake a survey of all GP Practices in the UK. It will “mirror” one undertaken five years ago to gauge how general practice is currently addressing palliative care needs and how it might have changed over recent years.
The Spotlight project will be led by Kingston GP Dr Catherine Millington-Sanders, who holds the Marie Curie National Clinical End of Life Care Champion role at the RCGP.
Dr Millington-Sanders said: “We are delighted to be able to continue to build on the successes of our work with general practice.
Project aims to improve end of life care in community
“This synergistic partnership has offered the opportunity to start influencing policy as well as practically supporting GPs, practice staff and commissioners with educational events and resources,” she said.
As an example, she highlighted the recent development of the Palliative and End of Life Care Toolkit, a range of practical tools and key guidance documents for healthcare professionals to support patients and their families.
Professor Bill Noble, executive medical director at Marie Curie, said: “We know that the number of people dying over the coming years is set to increase and that people will have increasingly complex needs at the ends of their lives.
“Expertise, care and support needs to be firmly rooted in the community, so work done now with GPs and their practices is vital if care is going to be of the highest quality, available to all who want to be cared for at home,” he said.