People are being asked to give their views on palliative and end of life care in Birmingham and help make improvements to services for patients.
Birmingham CrossCity Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is responsible for commissioning local healthcare, is asking people to have their say by filling in an online questionnaire or by attending an event on 25 September from 1-3pm at The Hub, 318 Vicarage Road, Kings Heath, B14 7NH. Both are part of its consultation 'caring for people at the end of their lives' – a strategy for Birmingham.
Currently palliative care – services which provide support and help improve quality of life for those with an illness which can’t be cured – and end of life care – services which support people and their families in the final 12 months of their life – vary depending on where someone lives and are not always co-ordinated effectively.
The CCG wants to hear people’s views on these services so it can improve the care that is offered and ensure that services are co-ordinated, of high quality, available to those who need them and are the same for everyone in the city.
The consultation, which runs until 20 October 2014, has focused on improved services which could mean:
• Those who need palliative and end of life care being identified earlier so their care can be planned
• Patients and carers being more informed of the choices available and how to access services
• Giving people near the end of their life the choice to die in their preferred place
Dr Sarah Mitchell, the Clinical Lead for Palliative and End of Life Care for Birmingham CrossCity and Birmingham South Central CCGs, said: “We want our patients to have the right, joined up care and to be able to reach the end of their life with dignity and in a place of their choosing.
“Future planning of these services is essential as people are living longer and need support with a range of medical problems. We know that for many, death is a taboo subject, but the reality is we need to discuss these matters if we are to make improvements to palliative and end of life care services.”
Nora O’Donnell, a patient receiving end of life care, said: “As someone with a life limiting illness my husband and I know it’s crucial to have plans in place for the end of my life. There is no denying the outcome, and as difficult as that conversation maybe, it’s absolutely necessary to have.
“I would urge anyone in a similar position to me to take part in this consultation so people can understand and make informed choices about what’s available, and can end their time in a dignified manner. Participation is crucial if those who will need these services want their final days to be spent in a loving and caring environment of their choice. I hope mine will be due to my husband and the support of the NHS putting together a planned care package specific to my needs and wishes.”
After the consultation closes, the CCG will look at the feedback received from the public and patients and this will be used to finalise a strategy for the future commissioning of palliative and end of life care services.
The online questionnaire is available to complete at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/EOL-care or alternatively a paper copy can be requested by calling the CCG’s engagement team on 0121 255 0828.
To book your place at the event on 25 September visit http://bhamcrosscityccg.nhs.uk
Notes to editors
Birmingham Cross City CCG and Birmingham South Central CCG, are working in partnership to improve end of life and palliative care services in Birmingham.
The number of deaths in Birmingham in the last five years has averaged 8250 per year (Table 2, Section 4.1). Many deaths are preceded by a period of chronic illness, and are therefore, to some extent, predictable. Currently most deaths occur in the hospital setting, despite published evidence that suggests that for the majority, the preferred place of death is home. Information from Birmingham Cross City CCG Integrated Palliative and End of Life Care Commissioning Strategy for Birmingham.