- RCGP response to end of life care media stories this week
RCGP response to end of life care media stories this week
Publication date: 18 October 2012
Responding to recent news articles on end of life care, Dr Clare Gerada, RCGP Chair of Council, said:
“The RCGP is appalled at the media coverage in the Daily Mail and elsewhere about planning for end of life care.
“As well as being inaccurate and deliberately misleading, this coverage is creating unnecessary distress and fear for patients who might be nearing the end of their life and for their families.
“Far from being “sinister” or placed on a "death list" as the Mail suggests, it is important that GPs talk sensitively to patients who are coming towards the end of their life about their wishes, such as whether they want to be cared for in their own home rather than in hospital.
“Half a million people in England die every year but many people are not receiving the end of life care that they need and want, often because their wishes have not been discussed with them.
“If you know you are dying, you want to make sure you get the care you need, in the place that you want to be – and you need to be able to talk openly about what to expect.
“There is very strong evidence that identifying people who are likely to be reaching the end of their lives and sharing what they want with the appropriate services gives them a better chance of dying with their wishes met in the place that they want to be.
“Outside the immediate family, the GP is the person that most people reaching the end of life would prefer to talk to and GPs want to provide people who are nearing the end of their life with the highest quality of care and support. In 2010, the RCGP launched its own End of Life Care Charter with the Royal College of Nursing to encourage GPs and their teams to raise these issues.
“Such discussions, though sometimes difficult, can provide reassurance and make a huge difference to the patient’s peace of mind, and that of their family and friends. They also provide patients with choice and control.
“Planning for end of life care supports patients at a time when they need it most. The media coverage of the past few days has been irresponsible and scaremongering and has only served to horrify patients and GPs alike.”
RCGP Press office - 020 3188 7575/7576
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659
Notes to editor
The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 46,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.