Tens of thousands 'failed by quality of palliative care'

Tens of thousands of patients are not being given sufficient pain relief and respite during palliative care - with vulnerable and minority groups faring worst, a report claims.

The research found that black, Asian and minority groups, those aged 85 or over, and people living in poorer areas are being failed in the quality of end-of-life care - while terminally-ill patients suffering with diseases other than cancer are also not receiving the right care from specially-trained palliative care staff, GPs and district nurses.

The report found that tens of thousands of people are being failed by the quality of palliative care in the UK Credit: PA

The report, by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), was commissioned by charity Marie Curie.

It found that an estimated 92,000 patients in England, 6,100 in Wales, 3,000 in Northern Ireland and 10,600 in Scotland would benefit from palliative care but do not receive it.

Part of the problem is that palliative care has traditionally been for people with cancer and there is currently a lack of suitable models of palliative care for people with non-cancer and increasingly complex conditions.

Palliative care can reduce symptoms and pain and help people die where they want to. It can also save money by preventing unwanted and distressing hospitalisations.

These statistics show that care homes have a growing role in caring for people who are dying, but they need more support from GPs and specialists than currently exists.

– Josie Dixon, research fellow at LSE