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Government commits to excellent end of life care for everyone, seven days a week by 2020

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Plans to ensure high quality, compassionate care for everyone at the end of life have been unveiled today (5 July) by Health Minister Ben Gummer.

Responding to an independent review on choice in end of life care, the government has made six commitments to the public which aim to end variation in end of life care across the health system by 2020. These are:

  • honest discussions between care professionals and dying people;
  • dying people making informed choices about their care;
  • personalised care plans for all;
  • the discussion of personalised care plans with care professionals;
  • the involvement of family and carers in dying people’s care;
  • a key contact so dying people know who to contact at any time of day.

young woman and senior woman using digital tablet

NHS and care professionals will be expected to reflect these commitments in their work. New measures will be developed to ensure local health and care leaders are meeting the high standards expected of them.

Tackling variation in care across the week is key to meeting these commitments and the government is determined to support the NHS and local authorities to do this. Plans include ensuring experts can provide specialist support on end of life care by acting as a first point of contact for anyone who needs them, as part of the newly developing urgent and emergency care hubs in all local areas.

Health Minister Ben Gummer said:


Our commitment is that every person nearing the end of their life should expect a good death: attentive, dignified and compassionate care.


To do this, we will address poor care where it exists and accelerate improvement across the health and social care system in England.  Already there are exemplary models of good care and we will ensure that where care is not so good we can learn from what is best and translate it to where it is needed most.

The announcement was made on Tuesday 5 July at the Parliamentary APPG hosted by the National Council for Palliative Care today and builds on the work going on within the NHS already. It will be launched by a series of roadshows across the country to ensure innovative work is shared between clinicians and local decision makers.

Claire Henry MBE, who chaired the independent board says:


I’m pleased by the overall vision set out in the Government response. They have clearly acknowledged our report, and taken its recommendations seriously.


To implement the new national commitment for end of life care we all need to work together to make this a reality, to ensure that a real difference can be made to people nearing  the end of life and their families. It will be vital that we continue to work with the government to ensure all these commitments are realised as part of all future care delivery.

The full government response can be found here:

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