Lisa Nandy MP: more support is needed to provide the best end of life care

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​Anyone watching the London Marathon last weekend would have noticed the massive number of runners fund-raising for hospices and charities involved in providing palliative and end of life care.

​Every person facing the end of their life must feel confident they will receive the best care and be supported to die in the place they choose.

We owe a great debt of gratitude to our hospices, palliative and end of life care staff in hospitals and Macmillan and Marie Curie nurses who work night and day to ensure that is the case.

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Each year Wigan and Leigh Hospice helps over 1,400 local people, providing free, high-quality care and support to terminally ill patients, their families and carers.

Wigan MP Lisa NandyWigan MP Lisa Nandy
Wigan MP Lisa Nandy

Good palliative and end of life care should enhance people’s quality of life during the final stages, ensure they can maintain their dignity and autonomy and provide emotional support to patients and their families.

Yet provision remains unequal across the country and too many people do not receive the support they need.

The Government has weakened our NHS and care sector; years of mismanagement in community care and a failure to bring forward a sustainable plan for social care has resulted in people not being properly supported.

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Hospices are also facing unprecedented financial challenges with soaring care costs. 29 of our 30 hospices in the North West have warned of budget shortfalls over the next year.

Hospice managers say budgets are not increasing in line with demand for their services, putting their vital work at risk.

NHS Integrated Care Boards have a legal requirement to meet the palliative and end of life care needs of their populations and the Government say they are working on ensuring this requirement is met throughout the country.

But more needs to be done to provide the sector with certainty and security over the long term.

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Wigan and Leigh Hospice costs £18,500 a day to run – only around a third of that comes from the NHS and the rest is raised by the tireless fund-raising efforts of supporters in our community.

Every pound raised goes towards covering hospice costs and people can visit to find out more about how to support their excellent work.

More broadly, we must build an NHS fit for the future - providing it with the staff, technology, resources and reform it needs – to ensure that palliative and end of life care is fit for purpose in all settings.

Labour will trial the creation of Neighbourhood Health Centres, able to work hand in hand with local hospices to ensure end of life care can take place when, and where, patients need it.

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Our 10-year plan to reform social care, culminating in the creation of a National Care Service, will provide hospices with the security they need to plan for the future and give patients and their families the confidence that they are receiving the best possible end of life care delivered in accordance with local need. Everyone deserves dignity, comfort and the best support at the end of life. We must do all we can to help the organisations and people who make that happen.

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