Trust joins programme to improve end of life hospital care across the UK

The Trust has been named as one of the first participants in a new programme to improve palliative care across the UK. Ten acute hospital trusts have been selected to take part in the Building on the best programme, which will support improvements in quality and experience of palliative and end-of-life care across the country. The services involved are based at the Lister hospital, as well as the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre.

Almost half of people who die in England and Wales currently do so in hospital1, yet there are considerable variations in the quality of end-of-life care in NHS hospitals. This new national programme will see support, knowledge and leadership provided to hospital settings in order that people experience good quality and safe care, as well as being able to make the choices that meet theirs – and their family’s – wishes, wherever they are.

Health Minister Ben Gummer said:

“I am determined to improve end of life care and this excellent initiative will benefit thousands of patients and their families at one of the most difficult and vulnerable moments of their lives.

“Thanks to the hard work of the National Council for Palliative Care and Macmillan, the crucial lessons from this programme can be evaluated, shared and implemented in hospitals across the country to ensure the NHS continues to provide high quality care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Dr Dee Traue, the Trust’s consultant in palliative medicine, who helped make the application to be accepted to the national programme, said:

“I am delighted that the Trust has been chosen to take part in the Building on the Best programme, as this recognises our commitment to the provision of high quality palliative and end of life care across all our hospitals. I am confident that this will provide the opportunity to develop further the care and services the Trust provides to best support patients approaching the end of their lives.”

The programme, which is UK-wide, will roll-out initially in England. It is funded by Macmillan Cancer Support and is supported by a partnership between the National Council for Palliative Care, Macmillan Cancer Support, NHS England and the NHS Trust Development Authority in England.

As well as further developing the work of the Transforming End of Life Care in Acute Hospitals Programme, Building on the best will develop new areas of focus for improving end-of-life care. These will include making information more accessible to patients and their families, to enable more shared decision-making; taking the opportunities offered by outpatient appointments to discuss advance and anticipatory care planning; improving the handover of information and records as people move between acute and secondary care; and improving pain and symptom management.

The programme will run for two and a half years. There will be a thorough evaluation and lessons learned will be used to contribute to improvement work on palliative and end of life care in acute hospitals across the country. Key staff, representing the project teams, from each of the ten organisations involved will gather for first time at a two-day event in March.

Anita Hayes was part of the panel who selected the ten successful trusts. She says:

“We were impressed by the number and the quality of the applications received. The Transform programme clearly has helped hospitals make good progress in this area. Building on the best will enable us to take this further and help develop ways for these improvements to be shared widely.”