Human Exceptionalism

NHS Meltdown: Insufficient Training in End of Life Care

The NHS is collapsing from top to bottom. Now, we learn that its medical personnel have insufficient training in end of life care. From the story:

Many terminally ill patients who want to die at home are being needlessly admitted to hospital, a public spending watchdog said on Wednesday. It said the majority of National Health Service doctors and nurses lack training in end-of-life care.

The National Audit Office (NAO) said in a report that up to three quarters of people near the end of their lives had expressed a preference to die at home. But it said a lack of support services meant that many people died in hospital when there was no clinical reason for them to be there. “Dying people are often not being treated with the dignity and respect they deserve and their wishes are often disregarded,” said Edward Leigh, chairman of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee. “They and their carers can be put through unnecessary stress at what is already an extremely emotionally demanding time.”

The report also found staff lacked skills to care for the dying, with only 29 percent of doctors and 18 percent of nurses having received pre-registration training in end of life care.

That’s shameful in a country whose late, great Dame Cecily Saunders created the modern hospice movement. Indeed, when I interviewed her in preparation for writing Culture of Death, I was shocked to hear that much of the budgets for hospice had to come from private sources because of insufficient NHS support.

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