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State of the Nations Report: Terminal Illness Care in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

Tuesday 05 July 2016

Health and Social Care researchers were commissioned by Marie Curie in January 2016 to carry out a review of terminal illness care policy, strategy and delivery across the four nations of the UK: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The aim of the review was to identify the current policies that impact upon terminal illness in the four nations, as well as identifying the current strategies and delivery mechanisms and evidence of implementation.

The findings indicate that all nations regard terminal illness care as a relatively high priority since all have responded with policy recommendations and directives and have produced policy documents to that end. These documents are broad policies that enunciate government-wide directions, all of them detailing a vision and plan for raising awareness of death and dying within society and the delivery of high quality care to people with a terminal illness. However, there is a clear difference across the nations in terms of the numbers of government policy documents. Whilst some of the nations have clear and current end of life care strategies (England, Scotland, Wales), it is fair to say that despite an ongoing strategic programme of work to implement end of life care priorities, there is limited evidence of a current and overarching end of life care strategy in Northern Ireland. The executive summary and report give further detail of the policy delivery mechanisms and level of implementation, and highlight some of the challenges faced by those who create policy and those who have to commission and deliver services to people at the end of life.

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