Statement in response to Dying Without Dignity

20 May 2015

Chief Executive of Wigan and Leigh Hospice, Dr Alan Baron, comments on the Dying Without Dignity report.

"It is tragic and unacceptable that many patients are not receiving the best possible care as they come to the end of their lives.

"The Dying Without Dignity report published today by the Health Ombudsman highlights some of the vital changes which are needed including better communication, more training for health and social care staff to recognise that a patient is dying and improved co-ordination between services.

"Hospices, as experts in the field of palliative care, must be enabled to share their specialist knowledge to ensure that more people can die with dignity with their pain alleviated and in the place of their choosing. Wigan and Leigh Hospice currently provides a range of education and training courses in end of life care and offers a 24-hour advice line for our local health and social care professionals.

"Professionals who come into contact with people at the end of their lives must receive the necessary training to enable them to have difficult conversations with patients and relatives at the appropriate stage to ensure that the patients' wishes are understood, documented and acted upon.

"Around 6% of the population dies in a hospice and hospice nurses care for many more people in the community who wish to die at home. Unfortunately many more do not receive this kind of specialist support.

"Tackling the inequalities and indignities highlighted in this report must be a priority. Wigan and Leigh Hospice stands ready to play an even greater role in ensuring this happens. After all we only get one chance to get this right for those coming towards the end of their lives."

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