David Cameron praises Marie Curie

by David Shaw
Director of Service Development

The Prime Minister David Cameron was on BBC 5 live on Friday speaking about the role of the charity and independent sectors in the future of the NHS.

Mr Cameron praised Marie Curie saying:  "There are excellent charities like Marie Curie Cancer Care who are expert at handling very sensitive and difficult issue of end of life care – now do we want an NHS where Marie Curie and other organisations can play a greater role in national health service provision particularly as people get to the end of their lives with cancer - my answer is yes we do."

Mr Cameron rightly states the importance of collaboration between the charitable sector and the NHS in end of life care. The impact of Marie Curie's nursing service is clear. A recent Nuffield Trust study demonstrated that Marie Curie patients were twice as likely to die at home as matched controls not cared for by Marie Curie - 77 per cent versus 35 per cent. And fewer than 8 per cent of Marie Curie patients died in hospital, compared to 41 per cent of matched controls.

In addition to our nursing service we’ve been working for almost a decade with partners in the NHS and independent sectors to develop an integrated approach to end of life care through our Delivering Choice Programme. We've shown that a partnership approach is often the best way of delivering the joined-up care patients need at the end of life. To date evidence has centred on enabling more patients to die in their preferred place of care, often involving a move of care from acute to community and hospice settings in line with patients' wishes. Collaboration between Marie Curie and the NHS can substantially improve end of life care.

Marie Curie offers resources for commissioners of end of life care. For briefings, reports, tools or for support with designing integrated and effective end of life services visit www.mariecurie.org.uk/commissioning

Visit the BBC website to hear the Prime Minister praising Marie Curie on 5 live