Palliative Care

Health written question – answered on 16th January 2013.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will instruct health and wellbeing boards to prioritise end-of-life care.

Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb The Minister of State, Department of Health

Health and wellbeing boards will be established as local committees of local authorities and as such it is not for central Government to instruct boards or monitor their performance. Health and wellbeing boards will be responsible for developing a joint understanding of local health and care needs through joint strategic needs assessments (JSNAs); and a shared set of priorities and a strategy to address these in Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies.

JSNAs will be the means by which the current and future health and wellbeing needs of the local population will be determined and must therefore be inclusive of the needs of the whole local population. However, it would not be appropriate for the Department to highlight any care group or area of need over another as this would risk undermining the purpose of JSNAs being an objective, comprehensive and—most importantly—a locally-owned process of developing evidence based priorities for commissioning.

However, the Government is committed to improving the health and care experiences for those facing the end of life. We will do that by putting patients, their families and carers at the heart of everything we do. We are pressing on with implementing the Department's “End of Life Care Strategy”, which provides a blueprint for action along the entire end of life care pathway, from societal aspects through to bereavement.

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