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Care at the end of life

Published: 18 Dec 2015 09:00

New framework to improve services for all

A new framework published today sets out the Scottish Government's commitments to make sure everyone in Scotland gets good quality palliative and end of life care.

The Framework for Action on Palliative and End of Life Care is backed by £3.5 million of Scottish Government investment. It aims to ensure that everyone has good quality palliative and end of life care regardless of their age, diagnosis, socio-economic background or where they live. It provides the elements of the work that we must now do to give people the best care we can at the end of their lives.

People need to be given an opportunity to discuss their end of life care wishes before their condition deteriorates. Staff across health and social care will be offered improved access to training, to support them to work with people and their families to ensure they have the best possible experience when time becomes short.

The framework addresses the need for greater openness about death, dying and bereavement in Scotland. Also, of the need for more recognition of the wider sources of support in communities that help people to live and die well.

Charities, members of the public and representatives of the health and social care sectors engaged in the development of this document. The framework covers the next five years.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said:

"I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this new framework for palliative and end of life care.

"Many people will have gone through the extremely sad process of looking after a loved one towards the end of their lives. This will always be a difficult experience, but our health and social care services have a crucial role to play in making it as dignified as possible, and ensuring that the patient's wishes and needs are taken into account.

"Scotland already has a very good reputation for our palliative and end of life care. But we are determined to keep improving. One of the key areas we want to improve is on the consistency of services.

"Through this new framework we want to make sure that everyone receives high quality palliative care – tailored to their own symptoms and life circumstances. This should be delivered to the same high standards, regardless of where you live, or what your illness is."

Professor David Clark, Wellcome Trust Investigator at the University of Glasgow's Dumfries Campus, was Consulting Editor of the report and wrote the summary of evidence that informed this work. He said:

"There are some very encouraging things happening in palliative care in Scotland. The Framework commits us all to the goals and the priorities we now have to address. I am confident it will lead to widespread improvement in one of the most challenging issues of the day – how we care for people at the end of life."

Richard Meade, Head of Policy and Public Affairs for Marie Curie in Scotland, said:

"Marie Curie welcomes the publication of the Strategic Framework for Action on Palliative and End of Life Care and its commitment to ensure that everyone in Scotland has access to palliative care when they need it. We now look forward to working with the Scottish Government, NHS Boards, Local Authorities and other partners to deliver on this ambition."

Maria McGill, chief executive of Children's Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS), said:

"The Strategic Framework for Action – Palliative and End of Life Care recognises easily accessible, quality palliative care should be a right for everyone in Scotland who could benefit from it. The framework rightly recognises that the issues and needs of children's palliative care are unique and that this area in particular requires further development and commitment. We look forward to working with the Scottish Government and other bodies to further developing our exemplar palliative care service and ensuring it supports every child who needs it."

Kenny Steele, Chair, Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care, said:

"The Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care welcomes the commitment of the Scottish Government to improving palliative and end of life care for the many tens of thousands of people in Scotland who need it every year. We look forward to working with our 50-plus member organisations and the Scottish Government to maximise the impact of this strategy."

Background:

Strategic Framework for Action on Palliative and End of Life Care, 2016-21, can be read in full here: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2015/12/4053