MPs, Peers, Members of the Senedd and charities have backed a call by Hospice UK for the UK COVID-19 Inquiry to investigate deaths in people’s own homes during the pandemic.
We’ve heard stories of very poor care and quite distressing experiences. We know how hard staff have worked, and we applaud their dedication and compassion – but we believe they need better support.
Dominic Carter, Head of Policy, Hospice UK
The draft terms of reference for the Inquiry cover what happened in hospitals and care homes during the pandemic – but fail to mention the surge in deaths in private homes.
Through our Dying Matters campaign, Hospice UK has been raising awareness of the surging numbers of people dying in their own homes.
While many people do express a preference to die at home, our analysis suggests that nearly 67,000 people who died at home since the start of the pandemic will not have had the specialist care they needed.
Maureen Anderson’s parents died in the same living room just weeks apart in 2020. The care her parents received was poorly co-ordinated and generated significant stress for Maureen and her family.
There are countless other families with similar stories – and we believe those experiences must be heard at the Inquiry, alongside the experiences of families whose loved ones died in hospital and in care homes.
Today, a cross party group of Members of Parliament and the Senedd, including Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, Paul Maynard MP, Robert Halfon MP and Rachael Maskell MP and charities such as Marie Curie, Age UK and the Alzheimer’s Society have backed Hospice UK’s call for the terms of reference to be amended in a letter to the inquiry’s chair, Baroness Hallett.
Dominic Carter, Head of Policy at Hospice UK, said: “The numbers of people dying at home presents a very real challenge for our health and care system. Through our Dying Matters campaign we’ve heard stories of very poor care and quite distressing experiences. We know how hard staff have worked, and we applaud their dedication and compassion – but we believe they need better support.
“The Inquiry is an opportunity not just to examine what has happened in the past two years, but to help find solutions to a challenge that is not going away. Our ageing population and increasing complexity of illnesses mean that many more people will die at home in the future.
“It’s therefore vital to make sure the right support is in place in the community, and that staff have the right skills to support people with pain relief, symptom management, emotional and practical support.”
48 MPs, Peers and Members of the Senedd have supported Hospice UK’s call, along with 31 charities and other institutions.
You can read the letters to Baroness Hallett below.