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New bill seeks to provide more comprehensive palliative care to the terminally ill

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Houses of Parliament

If passed by Parliament, The Terminal Illness (Provision of Palliative Care and Support for Carers) Bill, will require comprehensive palliative care to be provided to terminally ill people of all ages. It would also aim to create a more co-operative sector that supports carers.

The bill was introduced to the House of Commons by Bambos Charalambous MP under the ten-minute rule in Parliament on Wednesday 23 May. Bambos, who wore a Together for Short Lives pin badge to mark Children’s Hospice Week while during his speech to present the bill, acknowledged the disparity in funding between adult and children’s hospices. Clinical commissioning groups (CCG), the bodies responsible for planning and funding local health services, contribute 30% of costs to adult hospices, compared to just 10% for children’s hospices.

Bambos also drew attention to the huge contribution made by unpaid carers to the lives of the terminally ill. Carers UK have also estimated that unpaid care is worth £132 billion each year in the UK, alleviating huge pressure on the health service.

Using the total population of children in England, The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) calculate that by investing £12.7million in implementing the guidance, non-cash savings worth £34.7million would be released back into the NHS in England. You can find out more about the way in which children’s palliative care is funded – and how we would like it to be improved – here.

The bill will attempt to address obstacles faced by terminally ill individuals and their families when accessing palliative care. Bambos specifically mentioned:

  • The lack of out of hours care available;
  • That many carers get no extra support, leading to carers suffering ill health, financial pressures, stressed relationships and feelings of loneliness and isolation;
  • That carers need breaks, an allowance in line with jobseeker’s allowance, a right to paid leave and support from a more carer-friendly NHS.

In addition to support for carers, the bill will outline how to create a properly funded, nationwide palliative care provision which is integrated with local government, community care providers and local NHS providers.

MPs will have their first chance to debate the bill at its Second Reading on Friday 23 November 2018

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