Palliative and End of Life Care

500,000 people die in the UK every year; one person every minute. It is predicted that this number will rise to 590,000 in the next 20 years. As GPs we serve increasingly diverse populations, and as medical treatments and technology advance we are witnessing an increase in cancer survivorship and complex multi-morbidity in patients of all ages.

The large majority of deaths following a period of chronic illness such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic respiratory disease, neurological disease or dementia. GPs play a key role in the effective delivery of high quality palliative care and end of life care for all those who need it. A palliative care approach, and proactive care planning, can benefit a patient and their family for years before the end of life.

In 2013, RCGP entered into a three year partnership with Marie Curie to improve the palliative and end of life care provided to patients by GPs. It is our ambition to provide practical resources to help busy GPs and practice teams in their work with patients living with incurable illness and those approaching the end of their lives.

Palliative and End of Life Care Toolkit

The toolkit has been designed as a repository of useful information and tools for clinicians, commissioners and patients and those close to them. It will be updated as clinical practice changes. Email feedback and suggestions to

Guidelines on palliative and end of life care in England

The recent NHS England document Ambitions for Palliative and End of Life Care: A national framework for local action builds on the 2008 National end of life care strategy.

NICE Guidance:

NICE Quality standards:

NICE Pathways:

Guidelines on palliative and end of life care in Wales

We can provide copies of the RCGP Wales palliative adult and paediatric network guidelines 2011 at the subsidised price of £6.00 per copy including postage and packing.

To request copies, email stating how many you want and giving the delivery and or invoice address.

Guidelines on palliative and end of life care in Scotland

Guidelines and best practice documentation have been produced that are specific to end of life care in Scotland.

Public Health Palliative Care International

PHPCI aims to communicate the importance of public health ideas and approaches in palliative care at a global level. It promotes practice learning, professional support, and facilitates local and international communication between members around the world in their individual attempts at embedding a public health approach to the practice of palliative care.



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