Rother Valley MP calls for more support and funding for palliative care

Each year, around 500,000 people die in England and Wales and half of those deaths occur in hospitals, writes Sir Kevin Barron, MP for Rother Valley.

The palliative care workforce works extremely hard to provide good care for people nearing the end of their life.

Sir Kevin Barron MP

Sir Kevin Barron MP

We owe a debt of gratitude to our hospices, palliative care staff in hospitals and Macmillan and Marie Curie nurses.

Marie Curie has highlighted its concerns about the current ‘postcode lottery’ in palliative care.

It points out that, while the majority of people would prefer to die at home, a lack of investment in community care and the Government’s failure to act on social care has resulted in more older and vulnerable people being admitted to hospital.

Too many people approaching death are forced to spend long periods of time in hospital owing to a lack of social care or alternative support options.

Since 2010, £6.3 billion has been cut from adult social care budgets and there are now 400,000 fewer people receiving publicly-funded social care.

I believe these reductions have resulted in overworked staff, poorer quality care and people failing to get the care they need.

NHS England is now developing a new 10-year plan and a final report is expected by the end of autumn.

I understand concerns that palliative care may not be receiving the attention it deserves.

I will press Ministers to take this into account as it works with NHS England on any future long-term plan.

Labour has pledged to invest an extra £37 billion into the NHS and £8 billion into social care, provide free end of life care, and to pay care staff the national living wage and end 15-minute care visits.

It would also develop a new national care service which would provide dignity and care in older age.