The future of palliative care in a changing environment

Categories: Community Engagement.

The ‘Palliative Care Futures Forum’ has been set up by Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice to invest in a collaborative approach to multi-agency working and improved co-ordination of services across sectors delivering, designing and commissioning end of life care.

Delegates attended from the local authority, general practice, housing, third sector, the NHS community and acute NHS trust and first on the agenda was to establish the objective of the forum.

It was decided that the purpose was to inform local and national health commissioning and advisory structures via local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC).

There were a number of keynote speakers at the event, representing both the regional and national pictures.

Alan Lotinga, Service Director Health & Wellbeing, Birmingham City Council and Tracy Taylor, Chief Executive, Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust spoke about better outcomes through integration. Eve Richardson, Chief Executive of The National Council for Palliative Care gave delegates an insight into the national context of palliative care and Macmillan GP Facilitator, Dr Sarah Mitchell, provided a local context.

Following the keynote speakers, workshops took place and the attendees debated topics ranging from what they feel is already working in the approach to palliative care in the current system, to what they felt were the changes or enhancements needed to improve integrated working and the patient journey.

Chief Executive of Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, Tina Swani, said: “We are delighted at the success of the inaugural meeting of the Palliative Care Futures Forum. The change in commissioning structures and an increased pressure on all services connected to end of life care has the potential to disconnect the different stakeholders supporting the patient experience. We wanted to work together to develop a way forward to ensure the best for the patient. 

“The development of a palliative care approach throughout all aspects of end of life care is not only a hospice agenda but rather a population-wide issue that requires integrated working across sectors, with carers and the wider public. 

“The Forum aims to engage a wider cohort of sectors in service planning and co-ordination in order to make best use of resource and expertise, to reach more people and improve choice and equitable access to services and support at end of life.  Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice has invested time and commitment towards continuing to build the level of trust, confidence and communication required to support and deliver through effective collaboration.”

After the success of the first meeting, Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice plans to create further opportunities for cross-party discussion. A number of collaborative working suggestions were highlighted as a result of the event and these ideas will be taken forward in 2014.

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