55% of Scots die in hospital, many without specialist care
A new national charity, PATCH, has launched in Scotland to promote end of life care in Scottish hospitals. As over half of Scotland's deaths take place in hospitals, the charity will work to support the provision of specialist palliative care for patients nearing the end of their life.
PATCH is the first charity to support and identify ways to deliver 24/7 specialist end of life care specifically for hospital patients. PATCH is committed to raising the profile of end of life care in hospitals and is working with government, hospices, other charities and professional bodies to do so.
Only one in twenty patients die in a hospice, but PATCH believes that patients in hospital who are terminally ill deserve to have the same quality of care as they would receive in a hospice. The charity was inspired by the model of care in the Acute Palliative Care Unit in Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, which was started in 2009 and is now NHS funded.
Very few other hospitals in Scotland have acute palliative care beds but they include Dumfries Royal Infirmary, Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline, and the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley. Other hospitals have reduced services in place, for example a small advisory team who work 9am - 5pm five days per week.
Last week, a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked end-of-life care in the UK as the best in the world, particularly due to hospice care and free NHS services. However, providing access to specialist end of life care is not currently a requirement for hospitals in Scotland. PATCH believes that all hospital patients should have access to this service when they need it, regardless of their illness, and skilled staff able to provide it.
Sir Michael Nairn Bt, chairman of PATCH, said: "Only a minority of hospital patients in Scotland who could benefit from specialist care at the end of their lives actually receive it. PATCH is working hard to support the NHS and other healthcare organisations to identify hospital requirements and support to deliver them. PATCH believes Scottish hospitals should be as proud of end of life care for patients and families as they are of the care provided for families and babies at the beginning of life."
Health Secretary Shona Robison said: "The Scottish Government is absolutely committed to ensuring that palliative and end of life care is delivered to the highest standards, in every situation, right across the country. I look forward to working with PATCH as we work to deliver this.
"We are currently developing a new framework for palliative care, supported with £3.5 million of funding over the next four years. This new framework will be published in the near future."
For more information on PATCH palliative care services, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit patchscotland.com.