I support the comments made by the noble Lord, Lord Warner, about this amendment. We know that the things people say they dread as their final days approach are loss of dignity and loss of respect, and we hear far too much about poor care at the end of life. Very often, it is poor care because people are not in the place they would like to be. We also know that the number of carers identified and signposted by the NHS to the enhanced support is not widely known. We know that much more needs to be done to draw together all the various approaches—I am involved in one of those approaches at the moment, looking with a group of experts at how to improve end-of-life care with doctors, professionals in end-of-life care and lawyers who deal with patients’ wishes. There is still a lot be looked at and brought together, and this Bill gives us a good chance of getting this right, or at least much nearer to being right than it is at the moment.
As the noble Lord, Lord Warner, mentioned, the coalition of charities has also suggested that end-of-life care should be free at the point of delivery. I know that this requires much more consideration—the noble Lord talked about that. I want to concentrate on hoping that this will be considered and that services to dying people and possible loss of dignity and respect will get a far higher profile as things that need urgent attention. Terminally ill people should have their preferred place of death recorded by local health and social care services. That preference needs to be implemented wherever it is practical. People must have their care and support needs and those of their carers treated as urgent by the local authority responsible for assessing those needs.
For people who are dying, every day is precious. They cannot wait while the bureaucratic wheels grind slowly along, and not always in their favour. I support the amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Warner.