New service to help the terminally-ill

Dr Phil Earnshaw, chariman of the Wakefield Allliance Consortium.
Dr Phil Earnshaw, chariman of the Wakefield Allliance Consortium.
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CHANGES to end of life care will help terminally-ill people choose to die in peace and comfort at home, health bosses say.

District NHS bosses are launching a 24-7 rapid response service as part of a one-year pilot scheme to improve the care of dying patients.

Marie Curie Cancer Care has been commissioned to provide the out-of-hours service. The cancer charity will be on hand between 10pm and 7am to assess patients and make them comfortable at home or take them to Wakefield Hospice during their final hours.

The hospice, which is currently open to admissions five days week, will accept new patients every day under the plan, which starts on October 1.

Dr Phil Earnshaw, chairman of Wakefield Alliance Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “If loved ones wish to die at home, we hope we can deliver that.”

He said the changes meant patients could also be transferred directly from A&E to the hospice.

Stephen Eames, chief executive of Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, which runs Pinderfields Hospital, said research showed that people wanted to end their life in a supported and friendly environment.

“It’s a very sensitive area for families.

“We know this it is something that will improve the quality of end of life care.

“It will also reduce demand for hospital beds.”

The move is part of a wide-ranging plan to offer services in the community instead of patients having all their treatment in 
hospitals.

Dr Earnshaw said admissions to hospital were sometimes unnecessary for elderly patients, who on average had four long-term health conditions after they turned 75.

He said: “They can very quickly lose their independence.

“The population is aging rapidly. The number of patients over the age of 80 is increasing massively.

“It’s about breaking down barriers to treatment.

“Part of our vision is to give people a better experience of 
healthcare.”