CNK Responds to NCPC-led Government consultation
Launched earlier this year, the consultation on choice in end of life care, being led for the Government by the National Council for Palliative Care, closes on Tuesday 30 September.
Our submission suggests that the priority should not be isolating new choices or setting up new frameworks, but rather identifying existing choices. We should ensure that through planning, training and funding, these are available as standard across the NHS. This would best serve patients and the culture of care we all want.
Good end of life care is founded on respect, mutual understanding and empowerment. The key to building this up is to standardise care provision better and to maintain healthcare professionals' commitment to support patients in times of despair.
How would we know if a 'national choice offer' improved people's experience of care at the end of life?
Care Not Killing is a coalition of some 40 organisations, backed by more than 18,000 individual supporters, which opposes efforts to legalise assisted suicide and euthanasia, promotes continually developing palliative care, and seeks to influence the balance of public opinion.
We therefore commend the NCPC for making clear that representations concerning 'assisted dying' will not be considered relevant. We agree that true end of life care cannot be considered to encompass assisted suicide and/or euthanasia, and believe that a key aspect of safeguarding truly free and informed patient choice is helping patients to overcome despair. To achieve this, the law must remain as it is and continuing development of palliative care must be maintained and funded sufficiently.
We feel that a new 'national choice offer' has been neither explained nor justified adequately. This consultation as announced and advertised might suggest that patients currently have insufficient choice, or otherwise that healthcare professionals stand in the way of what those in their care would want. Exercises such as this consultation risk prompting confrontation; we instead believe that a fully informed dialogue best serves patients.
The priority should be to ensure that existing choices are better understood by, and available to, patients, families and healthcare professionals throughout the NHS, with inconsistencies tackled through better planning, training and funding.
For more on our approach to these issues, please visit our website: www.carenotkilling.org.uk