GPs urged to find the 1% of patients with a year to live

GPs have been urged to identify the 1% of patients on their practice lists who are likely to die that year and discuss end of life care.

Around 1% of the population dies each year and the ‘Find Your 1%’ campaign aims to get GPs talking to patients likely to die within the year ‘as early as possible’ about wishes for palliative care.

But Northumberland LMC secretary Dr Jane Lothian, who is involved with local palliative care work, questioned the ethics of the ‘somewhat arbitrary’ selection of patients.

The Dying Matters Coalition campaign is part of the government’s Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention (QIPP) agenda.

It seeks to persuade GPs to discuss end-of-life care with patients who are likely to die in the next 6-12 months, in order to increase the number of people dying in their usual place of residence.

Dr Lothian agreed that GPs should be ‘proactive’ about discussing palliative care. ‘It’s a skill of any primary care doctor, practice or district nurse,’ she said. ‘Usually it's about allowing people space to have that discussion.’

But she said patients often feel ‘duty-bound’ to simply follow the doctor’s lead without knowing they have choices, such as where they would like to die.

She added that it would be ‘extremely difficult’ for GPs to predict who was going to die in the coming year, other than those already dying. ‘Picking out people in a somewhat arbitrary way is very difficult.’

Targeting a proportion of the practice list could be ‘unethical’ and in some cases that conversation needs to happen several years before the patient is near death, she said.

The third annual report of the end-of-life care strategy published last month said more needed to be done to increase the number of people dying in their home or care home.

Last year, a report from the National End of Life Intelligence Network found that, although most people want to die at home, just 19% do.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

GPs delivered huge rise in face-to-face consultations in week before NHS England letter

GPs delivered huge rise in face-to-face consultations in week before NHS England letter

GPs delivered a huge increase in face-to-face appointments in the week before NHS...

RCGP facing legal action over stance on assisted dying

RCGP facing legal action over stance on assisted dying

The RCGP is facing legal action over its decision to remain opposed to assisted dying...

Medeconomics Live aims to help practices thrive under the new GP contract

Medeconomics Live aims to help practices thrive under the new GP contract

The one-day, virtual Medeconomics Live conference aims to provide practices with...

GPs face wave of abuse and complaints after NHS England face-to-face appointments claims

GPs face wave of abuse and complaints after NHS England face-to-face appointments claims

GP practices have faced a wave of abuse and complaints after a letter from NHS England...

Government denies plan to make GPs 'gatekeepers' of COVID-19 testing

Government denies plan to make GPs 'gatekeepers' of COVID-19 testing

The government has denied plans to make GPs 'gatekeepers' of the struggling COVID-19...

Expansion of NHS 111 service could see direct GP booking extended

Expansion of NHS 111 service could see direct GP booking extended

Plans to expand NHS 111 under measures to prepare the health service for winter could...