Care ‘should be available and free’ at the end of life

People with terminal diseases should be offered more free social care and a greater say in the type of support they receive at the end of their life, MPs said last night.

While most people would like to die at home, a shortfall in community nurses and outreach palliative care services make this difficult, the health select committee said.

A review found that round-the clock access to specialist palliative care in acute and community settings would greatly improve the way terminally ill patients and their families  and carers are treated.WreathCrucially,  patients should be consulted about their wishes to ensure clinicians feel confident talking to people they believe to be near the end of life.

The report was prompted by an independent review of the controversial Liverpool Care Pathway, which recommended doctors withdraw treatment, food and water from sedated patients in some circumstances. This was scrapped in 2013 after investigators discovered cases where patients were left languishing for weeks.

Committee chairwoman and Tory MP Dr Sarah Wollaston 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.” Both the British Heart Foundation and Parkinson’s UK said that while it was easy to determine end-of-life scenarios with cancer patients, those with other conditions can be ignored.

Steve Ford of Parkinson’s UK said: “Huge numbers of people with Parkinson’s lie unidentified as being at the end of their lives, so wouldn’t  have access to this support.

Giannangell. M Sunday Express 15/03/2015 P.12

“For us to regain pride in our nation, wouldn’t better care for our elderly and dying be a good and necessary start.”

MPs in smoking vote had links to tobacco firms

Matt Dathan writing in The Independent 12/03/15 about the back-hand interests of some MPs.

One in four of the MPs who voted against introducing plain cigarette packaging have declared links to tobacco industries in the past, analysis has shown.

At least seven other MPs who abstained on the vote have also accepted gifts and hospitality from tobaccco firms since 2008, including Philip Hammond, The Foreign Secretary. A majority 254 voted in favour of the controversial measure.

CigarettesA majority of Tory MPs, 181, defied the Government’s position by either voting against it or abstaining.

The Register of Members’ Financial Interests revealed that out of the 104 Tories who voted against, 22 have received hospitality tickets from tobacco firms and another, former cabinet minister Ken Clarke, is a former director of British American Tobacco.

Two of the three Labour MPs who opposed unbranded packaging also have declared tickets donated by Japan Tobacco International, which owns Benson & Hedges and Silk Cut cigarettes. The vast majority of gifts came in the form of Chelsea Flower show tickets, worth up to £1,600.

“What price a favour one wonders?”