End of life care should be made available free of charge, MPs have concluded.
A report by the Health Select Committee found that acute and community care for people reaching the end of their lives varies around the UK and has called for long-term sustainable funding for hospices.
Report author Dr Sarah Wollaston MP said: “There are unacceptable levels of variation in the care that people receive and this needs to be addressed so that high quality end of life care is available to everyone regardless of their age, medical condition or where they live.
“We must make sure that specialist palliative care expertise is accessible within hospitals and community settings as well as within our hospices.”
In patient Vera Clark, 87, is currently being treated for lung and heart problems at the highly rated Hospice of St Francis in Berkhamsted, Herts.
Her son Brian, who visits her every day, told Sky News: “We do feel lucky that she is where she is, it makes such a difference knowing she is in the right place.”
Hospice director Dr Ros Taylor, who is also national director of Hospice UK, explained that some patients still get lost within the NHS system.
“There isn’t the confidence of nurses and young doctors in hospital to have those conversations to recognise that somebody might be towards the end of their life, so the planning doesn’t happen and people die waiting to leave hospital,” she said.