Friday, 25 February 2022

Through The Valley Of The Shadow Of Death

Bob has applied to be a volunteer at our local Hospice. We both believe passionately in the work of the Hospice Movement. Dame Cicely Saunders gave an inspiring address at his college 40 years ago - and we have subsequently been involved with a number of these wonderful places. Part of Bob's training for Pastoral Ministry involved a placement at the hospice in Clapham - and various friends and family members have spent their final days being supported by hospices across the country. Some had help at home, others were given residential hospice places. Most recently, my cousin Gillian was in the St Francis Hospice, Romford.

I was very challenged by an article in the Guardian last Sunday. You probably know that currently, hospice care is free - paid for by "a combination of NHS funding and public donation" [that quote from the NHS website] But more than two thirds of the finance is from donations, the NHS share is around 30%. Furthermore, it is something of a postcode lottery. If you live in a wealthy area, there is likely to be more provision for hospice care. And individual hospices have to negotiate for their share. It is estimated that over 65% of those in need of such support and care fail to receive it due to lack of funding.

There is currently a Health and Care Bill going through Parliament - one which will shape the future of the NHS for the foreseeable future. Baroness Finlay [a crossbench peer, and palliative care specialist] has proposed an amendment to it. She says 

“The government could improve care without increasing overall cost, by explicitly requiring commissioning of specialist palliative services. The bill will launch 42 integrated care systems in England, new geographically defined health and social care partnerships, yet doesn’t mention palliative care.”

Her amendment, due to be debated in March, is that all areas must have multi-professional specialist palliative care services, specified and funded, determined by population needs. It is accompanied by criteria defining what this service does, and that it must be available wherever people are, from their homes to the streets, prisons to hospices, all day, every day. It is supported by many charities for people living with terminal illness including Marie Curie, Sue Ryder, and Hospice UK.

Please read the information on the Marie Curie Website, and if you feel able, sign their petition which asks that provision of end of life care should be fair and accessible to all.


14 comments:

  1. Thanks for this update. So important and long overdue. Lets hope the amendment succeeds and overcomes any Treasury resistance.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Totally agree with alll you say. The hospices here are wonderuful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are great places of peace, care and comfort - for patients and their families

      Delete
  3. I hope Bob will be accepted to be a volunteer at your local hospice, Angela. Sounds like he would be an ideal candidate to offer aid and comfort to those who are there.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hospice was wonderful when my mother passed away last November (2020). I'm not sure what we would have done without their care. They came daily to the house and checked not only my mother, but my sister and I as we cared for her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Terri, I am so sorry that you lost your Mum - but glad to know that you and your sister were supported through this time. The 'home care' aspect of the hospices is as important as their 'in house' work

      Delete
  5. I've signed the petition. I know from experience just how important the hospices are though didn't realise that the reliance on donations was quite such a large percentage of their funding.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm sure Bob's gentle manner will bring much comfort to those in need and I hope that he does get accepted.

    In parts of North America it seems funding is more readily available for Medically Assisted Death (I refuse the version which abbreviates to MAID, as MAD seems more appropriate) than it is for palliative care, which should be available for all who need end of life care. I hope the petition is successful and that the amendment goes through.

    ReplyDelete

Always glad to hear from you - thanks for stopping by!
I am blocking anonymous comments now, due to excessive spam!