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Palliative Care

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 4th November 2019.

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Photo of Fiona Bruce Fiona Bruce Conservative, Congleton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to require NHS clinical commissioners to provide 24-hour specialist advice services for generalist palliative care providers.

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

In 2016, NHS England published guidance prepared in collaboration with expert reference groups, and led by the National Clinical Director for End of Life Care, in response to requests by commissioners, service providers and clinicians for a clear description of what should be provided in terms of specialist level palliative care for people with progressive, life-limiting illness who have complex needs, and/or those whose usual care teams require the expert advice, guidance and support of those with specialist knowledge and skills in palliative care. The guidance states that ‘arrangements should be in place for specialist support to the wider care team at all times, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service should have access to all essential specialists to constitute a specialist level palliative care team’. The guidance also includes the provision of “medical and nursing cover to allow assessment, advice and active management seven days a week, and 24 hour telephone advice” as an expected service characteristic.

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