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Group calls for 'gold standard' of palliative care

10th January 2006

More must be done to ensure that terminally ill patients are given adequate support and advice at the end of their lives and that all choices are open to them.

Speaking out on the current standards of palliative care, members of the Dying Well group have emphasised the importance of providing end of life care and called for a reform of the system, reports BBC News.

Although they praised some aspects of the existing services, the group believes that progress can be made and that "inequalities" between locations should be erased to ensure an overall "gold standard".

Major decisions such as whether to die at home or in a hospital or hospice should be left to the patient, says the group, enabling them to have "peaceful and natural deaths".

"As with so much in the NHS, quality is of a high standard but quantity and distribution leave something to be desired," explained Frank Field, chairman of the group.

Responding to the claims, professor Mike Richards, national director for cancer, said that recent improvements had been made and that additional funding had been used to help hospices and volunteers provide for patients.