The quality of care, dignity and respect shown to patients in the last three months of their lives shows a wide variation throughout England.
A first-time report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), The National Bereavement Survey, reveals that the South West region was regularly rated in the top 20 per cent in terms of patient care and support for families and carers. However the London region received the poorest ratings, being regularly in the lowest 20 per cent.
In terms of quality of care only North Central London in the London area reached the top 20 percent but North East, South East and South West London were in the lowest 20 per cent.
When bereaved relatives were asked if they agreed that enough help was given by medical and care staff to help the patients personal needs Outer North East London and South East London fell into the bottom 20 per cent. The majority of areas in the North East, North West and Yorkshire and Humber were in the top 20 per cent in terms of quality of care and also in showing dignity and respect to the patients.
The East Midlands, West Midlands and East of England regions showed a mixed picture.
The report – National Bereavement Survey (VOICES) by PCT Clusters, 2011, looked at Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) throughout England to assess the experiences of care in the last three months of life for adults who dies in England between November 2010 and June 2011. It allowed comparison of care for different settings, for different conditions and in different areas. It was commissioned by the Department of Health (DH) and administered by the ONS.
The End of Life Care Strategy was published by the DH in July 2008 and set out a commitment to promote high quality care for all adults at the end of life and stated that outcomes of end of life care would be monitored through surveys of bereaved relatives (VOICES – Views of Informal Carers – Evaluation of Services). The sample taken in was one in six adults in England who died during the period examined.
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