Poll finds palliative care offers 'biggest difference' to patients

Palliative care for non-malignant disease makes the biggest difference to patients, according to an international poll by the BMJ.

In all 1,549 of just over 4,000 people questioned valued palliative care beyond cancer over tackling drug-resistant infections in poor countries, better care for elderly patients with multiple conditions, tackling excessive drinking in females or improving chronic pain management.

GPs keep a register of all patients who need palliative care under the quality framework and hold regular multidisciplinary meetings to discuss these patients. Currently, GPs are rewarded six quality points for this service, equivalent to just £747.60 a year for the average practice. 

Professor Scott Murray, an expert in palliative care from Edinburgh University who championed the cause for the contest, told GP: ‘Only 25 per cent of people die of cancer nowadays, so 75 per cent don't have access to specialist palliative care such as hospices.'

GPs should be providing palliative care to patients with end stage COPD and heart failure, he said, recommending the Gold Standards Framework as a guideline.

rachel.liddle@haymarket.com

National Gold Standards Framework (GSF) Centre England

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