Hospice bosses back bid for better care

Staff at Willowbrook Hospice.

Staff at Willowbrook Hospice.

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Hospice bosses in St Helens are backing a ground-breaking programme aimed at cutting the number of people dying unnecessarily in hospitals.

Willowbrook Hospice is part of a major programme behind the move, which health chiefs say could generate savings of up to £80m for the NHS.

Hospice bosses nationally say there is evidence that a significant number of dying people receive poor quality care in hospital for a range of reasons; including a lack of relevant skills and awareness among doctors and other healthcare professionals about palliative care.

Help the Hospices’ new programme will be aimed at dying people who often fall through gaps in the care system and remain in hospital at the end of life because alternative options, such as hospice care, have not even been considered.

Announcing the new programme, Lord Howard, Chair of Help the Hospices said: “Hospital has become the default option for dying people and for an increasing number of frail elderly people. Hospital should be the last resort at the end of life, not the first one.

“This has resulted in inappropriate and often poor quality care that completely fails to support dying people’s actual needs and deprives them of alternative care options. It also places considerable pressure on the NHS, which is already straining at the seams.

“Hospices can provide the solution by leading moves to provide and facilitate alternative forms of care, whether through their own inpatient units or working closely with their local hospital to deliver alternative options.”

“This will help ensure that people do not have to remain in a hospital bed at their end of life unnecessarily. It will result in better targeted, higher quality care for dying people, as well as being cost-effective for the NHS.”