Hands end of life 2x1

Dying well depends on where you live

08 March 2016

Does good end of life care[2], depend on your age, whether you live alone, your diagnosis or economic status?  Does it depend on which London borough you live in?

The London Assembly Health Committee has investigated the important issue of end of life care and it has found:

  • Only 8 out of 33 London Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) scored above the national average for end of life care quality indicators and fewer than half of local authorities include end of life care within their Health and Wellbeing Strategies. CCGs spend a wide range of money on each death, the least spent £540 per death and the most spent £3,740 per death.[3]
  • 70 per cent of hospitals in London cannot provide specialist palliative care[4] services seven days a week[5] and only 24 per cent of London patients accessing palliative care have a non-cancer diagnosis.[6]
  • Around 10 per cent of London households are occupied by a person aged over 65 who lives alone, yet access to services is unequal, with older people, living alone, struggling to access the care they need.[7]

The London Assembly Health Committee has written to the Mayor about end of life care in London. The letter recommends:

  • The Mayor should champion the issue of end of life care and more can be done at a local level to improve end of life care across London.
  • The Mayor should push all Health and Wellbeing Boards to include end of life care in their Health and Wellbeing Strategies.
  • The Greater London Authority (GLA) Health Team should incorporate end of life care into a review of the Health Inequalities Strategy, with a particular focus on ensuring equal access for all in London, regardless of age, background, economic status or diagnosis.

Dr Onkar Sahota AM, Chair of the Health Committee, said:

“How we care for people at the end of their life is a measure of the compassion in our society. It is vital that here in London we make quality of death, as well as quality of life, the best it can possibly be.

Real leadership is needed in this area and the Mayor could play an important role. We need to talk about this issue a lot more, if we are to support people to have these conversations and to plan for their death.

It is shocking that just a handful of local authorities in London provide good quality end of life care. We need to make good end of life care accessible to all, because everyone deserves dignity in death.”

Notes to editors

  1. Read the Health Committee letter and digital report on end of life care attached.
  2. End of life care is when a person, approaching the end of their life will have a range of needs that can be met by family, friends, health and social care providers. The best care will be a package of measures, tailored to the individual that could include: relief from pain, support with practical arrangements, help to achieve a sense of resolution and peace and practical support such as washing or dressing.
  3. Figures from the Pan-London End of Life Alliance
  4. Palliative care makes you as comfortable as possible, by managing pain and distressing symptoms. It involves psychological, social and spiritual support for the patient, their family and carers. This is called a holistic approach, because it deals with a ‘whole’ person.
  5. Figures from the Pan-London End of Life Alliance
  6. Figures from the Pan-London End of Life Alliance
  7. Office for National Statistics census data 2011
  8. Dr Onkar Sahota AM, Chair of the Health Committee is available for interview. See contact details below.
  9. London Assembly Health Committee.
  10. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Lisa Lam on 020 7983 4067.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officerNon-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.