We welcome the ‘Review of Choice in End of Life Care’ report findings and look forward to patient choice becoming more integrated in healthcare, which has been lacking in end-of-life care in the UK.
Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Compassion in Dying & Dignity in Dying, said:
“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.”
The full report can be read here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/choice-in-end-of-life-care
Dignity in Dying
Dignity in Dying campaigns for greater choice, control and access to services at the end of life including the option of assisted dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults within strict legal safeguards.
For more information on Dignity in Dying visit www.dignityindying.org.uk
Compassion in Dying
Compassion in Dying is a national charity (no. 1120203) that aims to support people at the end of life to have what they consider to be a good death by providing information and support around their legal rights and choices. We are a leading provider of free Advance Decisions in the UK and we also conduct and review research around patient rights and choices in end-of-life care.
Compassion in Dying is the sister organisation of Dignity in Dying and was set up to help people exercise their rights and choices under the current law. The charity does not campaign for a change in the law on assisted dying.
For more information on Compassion in Dying visit www.compassionindying.org.uk