According to research by Sue Ryder, only 8% of clinical commissioning groups in England provide comprehensive 24/7 expert emotional support, practical advice and coordination for the dying, their carers and families.
This lack of provision leaves people scared, alone and desperate for help – without anywhere immediate and appropriate to turn to outside of 9-5 working hours.
The charity says that increase in the range of services provided for people at the end of life will ensure more people are able to die in their place of choice, surrounded by their loved ones and with expert and coordinated care.
Heidi Travis, CEO of Sue Ryder, explains: “Sue Ryder firmly believe that people who are dying, their carers and their families should be able to access the care they want, when they want. Unfortunately many areas of the country simply don’t have the services in place to make this ambition a reality.
“Today sees the launch of our ‘Dying doesn’t work 9 to 5’ campaign, which seeks to draw attention to the needless suffering that people at the end of life and their carers are experiencing and the urgent need for comprehensive support and advice services, no matter what time of day it is. We’re asking people to visit our website and sign our petition to ensure the next government makes improving end of life support services a priority.”
Sharing hospice expertise
Jonathan Ellis, Director of Policy & Advocacy at Hospice UK added: “We welcome the Sue Ryder campaign. Everybody affected by terminal illness should be able to access 24/7 support. At such a sensitive time, when there is no second chance to get it right, all of us would want those close to us to be supported regardless of the time they are in need.
“Hospices are working hard to make sure that people get the care and support they need. For instance, many provide 24/7 advice and support services to patients and medical professionals. Hospices are keen to share their expertise and support care provided in other settings – helping to make sure that everyone gets the best care possible when they approach the end of life.
“What we want to see, and what we have joined with our partners in end of life care to call for, is a commitment from all political parties to 24/7 care and support for terminally ill people and their families, regardless of where they are.
“We look forward to working with Sue Ryder and our partners to make 24/7 care and support a reality.”
Public unaware of the gaps in services
New research commissioned to support the campaign shows that the population is unaware of the gaps in services and expects the NHS to provide round the clock support services.
Of those questioned, 82% expect that support and advice should be available 24 hours a day for those who are dying more than 80% felt it is important for political leaders to prioritise the issue of providing 24/7 support for people who are dying, their carers and families.
Show your support
Sue Ryder is asking people to sign its petition calling for 24 hour support for everyone who is dying, and those who care for them. You can also join the conversation on Twitter, using the hash-tag #not9to5