Hospices The Answer to Hospital Crises say Seven in Ten People

Hampshire, Dec. 12, 2017 – Nearly three quarters of UK adults (73 per cent) say hospice services should be used more to help relieve the pressure on hospitals according to newly released findings of a survey published today by the charity Hospice UK.

And less than half of adults in the UK (47 per cent) say hospitals are “well-equipped” to provide end of life care according to the survey conducted by ComRes.

However, three quarters of those surveyed (75 per cent) say that partnerships between the NHS and hospices improve the quality of care in hospital.

The ComRes survey commissioned by the national hospice and palliative care charity indicates there is keen public appetite for more collaboration between the NHS and the UK’s 220 charitable hospices.

The findings are published amidst warnings the NHS is facing its worst winter in recent history, largely due to increased demand caused by seasonal illness.

Currently, many hospices work in partnership with their local hospital to provide care for people approaching the end of life who are admitted to hospital but who have no clinical need to be there. This care can include support in a hospice in-patient unit, or hospice care provided in someone’s home.

In addition, through training and education programmes hospice staff work with palliative care teams in hospitals to help improve the quality of support offered.

Some people do need a stay in hospital as part of their end of life care. Hospice UK is leading an initiative called ‘Building on the best”. It aims to ensure staff in acute hospitals are supported to deliver high quality, compassionate end of life care and targets specific areas for improvement.

The ComRes survey also highlighted worries among UK adults about where they will die in the future; four in ten (40 per cent) say they are concerned they will not be able to die “in the place of my choice”. Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) say they are “very concerned” about this.

Tracey Bleakley, Chief Executive of Hospice UK, said:

“This ComRes survey indicates there is a strong public appetite for greater collaboration between the NHS and the UK’s charitable hospices.

“By working closely with NHS staff – through training and education programmes – hospices can help improve end of life care for people who need to be supported in hospital.

“In addition, hospices can help increase patient choice by providing community-based care alternatives beyond hospital for dying people, which in turn can help free up beds in overstretched acute services.

“Hospices can do much to help bolster our overloaded care system but their role is often overlooked. This is not about hospices providing a stop-gap for overstretched A&E departments, it is about a viable long-term solution that supports patient choice and also helps ensure that increasingly scant NHS resources are targeted effectively”.


Notes to editors

  • For the survey ComRes interviewed 2120 UK adults online between 7 and 8 August. Data were weighted by gender, region and socio-economic grade to be representative of all UK adults aged 18+. The newly released survey findings will be available here on the ComRes website on December 12.
  • In a CQC report published earlier this year more than nine in ten hospices in England were rated Outstanding or Good
  • Around 250,000 people die in hospital each year in England. They include many people approaching the end of life who have no clinical need to be there and would prefer to be supported in their own home or in a hospice.
  • Building on the best is a two-year programme from Hospice UK, Macmillan, NHS England, NHS Improvement, and the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care. More information is available at  http://www.ncpc.org.uk/building-best
  • Hospice UK is the national charity for hospice and palliative care.
  • For further information about hospice care visit our website www.hospiceuk.org or follow us on Twitter @hospiceuk
  • Get all the latest news from the hospice and palliative care sector, as well as patient stories, on ehospice UK at: www.ehospice.com/uk This service is managed by Hospice UK.

Media enquiries: 

Please contact Suzanne Stevenson on 020 7520 8296 or by email at s.stevenson@hospiceuk.org

For out of hours media enquiries please call 07881 940 318.

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