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Research from the Cicely Saunders Institute is shaping policy on end-of-life care

Policy mapping analysis from a key research programme was highlighted by several peers in a parliamentary debate in January.

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An amendment proposed during the recent Health and Care Bill debate in Parliament would introduce a specific requirement for clinical specialist palliative care services to be commissioned by Integrated Care Boards in every part of England. The amendment, put forward by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, aims to improve care without increasing overall costs for the NHS. Peers provided evidence to support this amendment, with several citing ongoing research from the Marie Curie Better End of Life Programme, led by Professor Katherine Sleeman of the Cicely Saunders Institute. A recording of the debate can be watched on the Parliament Live TV Player.

We are pleased that our recent analysis of palliative and end of life care in Integrated Care System (ICS) strategies was used by several Peers in the recent House of Lords debate to support the amendment that palliative care should be commissioned by ICSs. The NHS was set up to support cradle to grave care, and it is shocking that many specialist palliative care services rely on charity donations to operate. In light of the ageing population and projected increase in the number of people needing palliative care across the UK, it has never been more important to ensure high-quality palliative care for all who need it.– Professor Katherine Sleeman

As a result of the ageing population, in 20 years there will be 100,000 more people dying each year in the UK. This will mean the need for palliative and end of life care will increase dramatically, as people will live for longer with multiple and complex conditions. 

The Better End of Life Programme is a three-year collaborative project between Marie Curie, King’s College London’s Cicely Saunders Institute, Hull York Medical School, the University of Hull and the University of Cambridge. The project started in January 2021 and aims to examine experiences of dying, death and bereavement in the UK. The first report from the programme examined dying, death and bereavement during the Covid-19 pandemic, and is available here. 

Full details on the Health and Care Bill can be found on the UK Parliament website. 

In this story

Katherine Sleeman

Katherine Sleeman

Laing Galazka Chair in Palliative Care, Honorary Consultant in Palliative Medicine