Monday 2 March 2020

Palliative care services under scrutiny tomorrow

Proposals to address short-comings in palliative care in North West London will be interrogated by the Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee tomorrow (Tuesday March 3rd, 6pm Brent Civic Centre). AGENDA

A well as Brent other CCGs involved are Central, Hammersmith and Fulham and West. There has been an in-depth involvement of patients and carers to address the problems and 4 scenarios have been put forward.

The main report sets out the context:
Access to services -only 48% of people with a palliative care need are accessing services when they need them. Reaching only 48% of patients is not good enough. It is paramount that we increase the reach of palliative care services to all patients who need it, regardless of their condition.

Inconsistency between services–depending on where you live you will have more or less access to specialist palliative care services and this is not acceptable. For example, while some hospices can support people to die at home if they wish, others do not. There is also variation in what services can be accessed out of hours and how quickly, for example in the middle of the night or at the weekends.

Underinvestment in community services contributes to differences in what services are available for people to access. Our vision is that everyone gets the palliative care that they need. We aim to increase this number up to a minimum of 75%initially. Investing in community services will enable us to reach more people in their last phase of life. A lack of co-ordination between services can result in care being delayed or interrupted which causes anxiety and stress for patients, carers and families and unnecessary discomfort to the patient.

National staff shortages in palliative care specialists -this has been a challenge locally and due to a specialist palliative consultant not being available led to the suspension of the in-patient unit at the Pembridge palliative care centre, highlighting the fragility of our local system.
The scenarios:

Currently spending by Brent CCG is split into three areas.

Councillors will be keen to see how the three areas cited by patients and carers are being addressed. Of particular interest are the issues around 'talking about death', access for different ethnic/cultural communities and the seemingly mundane but vital issue of travel cost and convenience for carers' travelling to a hospice.

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