Dying patients still being let down

Dr. Charles West, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Shrewsbury and Atcham is calling for better end of life services, following the annual conference of Age Concern Shropshire, held today.

Dr. West said: “There are three things that Shropshire should do to improve care. First every patient known to be near the end of their life should have their details flagged with ShropDoc so that they do not get inappropriate care out of hours. Second, Shropshire County PCT should restore the attachment of district nurses to GP Practices to improve communication and continuity of care. And thirdly Shrewsbury should have a Community hospital or community hospital beds for patients who do not need the intensive treatment, and do not want the bustle and disturbance of an acute hospital in their last days.”

“I am delighted that Age Concern Shropshire is focusing on End of Life Care at their annual conference today. Staff are working together more and more to improve the care of the dying, and but without the resources they are never going to be able to provide the end of life care that we would all want.

Dr. West’s comments coincide with a new report from the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) which reveals 39% of patients who died within four days of admission to hospital received less than good care.

“This is a shocking indictment of NHS services for those who are dying.

“It’s clear from this report that in far too many cases services fall way below the acceptable standards for this day and age.”

“Very few patients would choose to spend their last days in an acute hospital, but many have to do so because there are not the necessary facilities elsewhere. Shrewsbury desperately needs more intermediate care or community hospital beds where care can be more personal and peaceful.

“Surveys in Shropshire continue to show that most people would prefer to die in their own homes, and many are unable to do so, mainly because of lack of services.”

For More information contact:

Dr Charles West
Parliamentary Candidate: Shrewsbury and Atcham Liberal Democrats
3 Bellstone
Shrewsbury
SY1 1HU
tel:   07775 800744

Background:
National figures show that of 0.5Million patients who die each year in England
58% die in an acute hospital
17% in care homes
18% dies at home
4 % dies in a hospice
40% of those who die in hospital could have been cared for at home if the services had been available
Shropshire figures for a sample of patients known to be near end of life (2005)
Preferred place of dying 72% at home
4% in acute hospital
Actual place of death 51% at home
17% in acute hospital
The NCEPOD report is at:
http://www.ncepod.org.uk/2009dah.htm

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