Patient choice in end-of-life care must be a priority for the next Government
Compassion in Dying welcomes the Review of Choice in End of Life Care report findings.
Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Compassion in Dying Dignity in Dying, said:
“Compassion in Dying welcomes the ‘Review of Choice in End of Life Care’ report findings and looks forward to patient choice becoming more integrated in healthcare, which has been lacking in end of life care in the UK.
“An important recommendation is implementing an electronic system where a patient’s records can be shared with those who are involved in their end of life care by April 2018. It’s essential that this includes a patient’s Advance Decision and Lasting Power of Attorney because a key part of choice is the right to make a legally binding refusal of treatment, or appoint a trusted person to make health decisions. This is particularly important given the widespread recognition that the last six months of a person’s life are frequently over-medicalised and over-treated. To expedite this, there needs to be a drive amongst healthcare professionals to begin these conversations as early as possible, to allow a patient’s wishes and legal rights to be incorporated within their own care. Compassion in Dying strongly welcomes the review’s recommendation that electronic end of life care registers must be available in all areas of the country, since currently patients in the UK experience a ‘postcode lottery’. Such systems are a vital part of ensuring that patients’ choices for end of life care are known about and respected by healthcare professionals.
“We also welcome the recommendation on developing measures on the extent to which a person approaching the end of life has been offered choice and whether their choices were met. This will be an extremely important piece of work which should hold health and care organisations to account for delivery, and therefore ensure that the review’s broader recommendations result in positive, concrete changes to patient involvement and decision-making at the end of life.
“Patient choice in end-of-life care must be a priority for the next Government. It is a fundamental right that a person should be able to decide, amongst other concerns, what treatment they would or would not want at the end of life. The report is an important step in giving control to the patient and the recommendations should be put in to action without delay.”