As reported in the Health Service Journal this week, the review follows mounting evidence that particular groups of people experience poorer quality care at the end of life, and that the care they receive does not always meet their needs.
The thematic review will take into account the experiences of people with dementia, mental health needs, learning disabilities, non-cancer diagnoses, as well as people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds and people from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.
It will also examine geographic variations in the quality of care.
Holding a thematic review into end of life care was one of the recommendations to the CQC from the independent review of the controversial Liverpool care pathway.
The review will address two questions:
- What factors prevent people from different areas and from particular groups from experiencing good quality, joined up care at the end of life?
- What good practice can others learn from at local level, and what action can national and local stakeholders take in the next five years to address inequalities in experience of end of life care?
The CQC says that it will take “a phased approach to the thematic activity, and will review and challenge the delivery of the thematic work in relation to the scope, as well as identifying lessons learned, at the end of each phase.”
Chief Inspector of Hospitals Sir Mike Richards recognises that there are a huge number of inequalities in end of life care, an issue he raised at the CQC’s board meeting last week: “There are the inequalities by geography – we know that from the survey of bereaved relatives. There’s undoubtedly inequality by diagnosis – cancer patients get a better deal than other people.
“There are inequalities by where you happen to be, with hospitals doing undoubtedly the worst, and care homes doing a whole lot better. Hospices do best. But then on top of that, much less is known about various specific vulnerable groups.”
The new CQC probe is set to begin collecting information this summer and expected to report its findings in March next year. You can read the full article on the HSJ website (£).