Help needed for care at the end

MORE resources are being called for to give dying people the palliative care they need in Suffolk.A new report has stated that, countrywide, dying people are not being given enough support by the NHS a new report has claimed.

MORE resources are being called for to give dying people the palliative care they need in Suffolk.

A new report has stated that, countrywide, dying people are not being given enough support by the NHS a new report has claimed.

In east Suffolk there are just six Macmillan nurses available to give help to those in the county suffering with cancer.

But now Ipswich Primary Care Trust is putting in bids for more resources to provide better palliative care for terminally ill patients.

It is also looking to work with other organisations such as Social Services in a bid to improve what they offer.

The King's Fund report revealed earlier this week that the NHS fails to give dying people enough emotional, practical or spiritual support.

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It was felt that hospices and other specialist palliative care services provided excellent support, but for only a small proportion of those who needed it.

For everyone else, support had to be obtained from friends, families, GP surgeries, district nurses, social services and voluntary groups — all of which had limited time to give.

And it was felt that Primary Care Trusts with their new responsibility for all health services should look to fill the gaps, which the King's Fund discussion paper felt was providing care to people in their own homes.

By being unable to provide home care, this denies people the opportunity to die at home as hospitals become their only option.

A spokesman for Ipswich PCT said the group had welcomed the report. He said: "It is making a valuable contribution to the debate of Primary Care.

"We have put a bid into Macmillan Cancer Relief to acquire more nurses.

"In an ideal world we would have more Macmillan Nurses and District Nurses.

"We also have a locality group that meets every three months to look at ways of improving services."

He added that the PCT was particularly keen on introducing more care for non-cancer illnesses.

He said: "There are a lot of voluntary organisations that concentrate on cancer.

"We are looking at improving the services for non-cancer palliative care needs."

There is currently a 24-hour district nurse service and St.Elizabeth's Hospice also provides care for the terminally ill, but the hospice is a separate organisation that relies on contributions and money from Central Government.

King's Fund chief executive Rabbi Julia Neuberger said: "People with terminal illnesses need more than good medication in their final months and weeks of life."

They often needed help in coming to terms with their death, in choosing where they would die, in making funeral arrangements and in day-to-day tasks such as cleaning and shopping.

"Yet psychosocial support of this type is patchy, especially for those dying of illnesses other than cancer,' she said.

The King's Fund called for more investment in district nursing services so that help could be offered to all who needed it, at any time of day or night.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said the UK was widely recognised as being a world leader in palliative care and the King's Fund report highlighted much of the good work already underway.

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