End of life care must have funding to deliver

UNISON, the UK’s largest health union, is calling on the Government to pledge the funding needed to deliver safe and dignified end of life care.  The call comes in the wake of the review into the Liverpool Care Pathway which is being replaced by new recommendations* published today.

The union is warning that the NHS is under severe pressure because of underfunding.  Patients coming to the end of their lives and their family and friends should not be made to suffer the consequences.  Understaffing is a risk to patients and puts staff under increasing strain.  Patient outcomes are better when they are treated on well staffed wards by motivated staff.  Sadly the Government’s failure to give 60% of nurses a pay rise this year shows how little they are appreciated or rewarded.

UNISON’s Head of Nursing, Gail Adams, said:

“It’s vital that the Government invests fully and properly in end of life care. Palliative care should be a 24/7 service, but unless a patient is in a hospice, it isn’t – this is because of a chronic lack of funding.

“Everyone has a right to die in a place of their choice, pain free and with dignity. Key to this is communication and expert staff training, so that patients and their loved ones are confident in the care provided at this most difficult time.

“The new guidelines provide, if used properly, a dignified end of life journey. However it has to be properly funded and resourced to ensure it is available to all who need it, whether they are cared for in hospital, in a hospice or at home.”


Notes to Editors

*One Chance to Get It Right – Leadership Alliance for the Care of Dying People