Live and Let Die – Government Funds End of Life Care
‘One should die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly’. Nietzsche.
The UK is set to introduce their first ever End of Life Care strategy to enable people to have more choice about how and where they die. The government is expected to fund this strategy with a 286m pound investment over a three year period.
After much publicised criticism regarding the palliative care available in the UK, the government is set to address so many victim’s families concerns. Health Secretary Alan Johnson stated that previously the care for dying ‘has been a relatively low priority, and as a result the quality of care has been variable’.
This follows campaigners concerns that this area is neglected by the NHS with hospices complaining of a lack of funding. Care for dying patients can be expensive, as recently as 2005 saw the goverment announce plans for a 60 million pound investment in palliative care through the NHS.
So, how will the End of Life Care Strategy change the lives and deaths of the 500,000 people a year who die of chronic illness and disease in the UK? Currently, only one in five will die in their own home despite the actual figures suggesting that this is the place where two thirds wish to die.
The choice will now be available and more people that decide they wish to end their life at home will be provided support and assistance. There will be the introduction of 24 hour nursing teams to offer help and care when required. The strategy should see a massive increase in numbers dying at home, a personal preference of so many.
The system will look to replicate the success of the Marie Curie Cancer Care Delivering Choice programme. This has enable people the choice of dying at home with specialist carers, leading to figures doubling since its introduction.
Maria Gleeson’s husband Paul wanted to die at home when he was diagnosed with cancer. With the help of Marie Curie Cancer Care, his wish was granted and he spent his last days with his wife and three daughters. This would not have been possible without the support of the Delivering Choice programme, emphasising the importance of the End of Life Care strategy to so many families.
The freedom of choice enables families to spend the last few moments together and Maria Gleeson claims that it ‘should be a right, it is about dignity’. It would seem that care for the dying has been woefully ignored and denying dignity to those at life’s end is a crime against humanity.