Thank you for contacting me about care for people with terminal illnesses.
I agree that we must ensure that people receive the most appropriate care personalised to their individual needs as they approach the end of their life.
The NHS Long Term Plan, prepared by the NHS and published in 2019, builds on previous commitments made by the Government to personalise care through informed conversations between healthcare professionals and dying people. Part of this is a commitment to help people to live independently for longer, as well as a promise to give more people more say about the care they receive and where they receive it, particularly towards the end of their lives. I believe empowering people with terminal conditions in this way will better enable them to access palliative care when and where they most need it.
The NHS must meet these commitments, and new measures are being developed to ensure local health and care leaders are meeting the high standards expected of them. There is existing guidance from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence, which includes specific reference to maintaining comfort in dignity in a person’s last days of life. It is right that clinicians continue to utilise this guidance.
The establishment of the Personalised Care Institute has made training available to help staff identify and support patients and to introduce proactive and personalised care planning for everyone identified as being in their last year of life. Importantly, this enables meaningful conversations to take place and allows staff to help patients and families, address their concerns and to explain the breadth of services available in the local area.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.