Help us strengthen the debate about palliative care in Parliament

Cardiff Hosp

On 11 September, MPs spent four hours passionately debating the Assisted Dying Bill. More than 85 MPs had asked to speak and it was clear that members both for and against assisted dying strongly believe people with a terminal illness should have access to palliative care.

Many MPs spoke movingly about their own experiences of supporting loved ones with a terminal illness. The need for improved access to high-quality palliative and end of life care was a common thread across many of the speeches.

While the Assisted Dying Bill was rejected by the House of Commons, it is clear that the care and support that people can expect as they approach the end of their life is something we as a nation feel passionately about, regardless of our views on assisted dying. Many of us have an important story to tell, whether it relates to great care or where things could have been improved.

Yet the House of Commons hasn’t properly touched on issues surrounding access to palliative care for years. This needs to change.

Action is needed

We know that 110,000 people each year miss out on the palliative care they need and seven out of ten carers say people living with a terminal illness do not get the right care and support. Predominantly, the people who miss out are those with non-cancer diagnoses or those over the age of 85.

These figures should be of real concern to MPs and they should in turn be calling on the government to do more to ensure that everyone can access high-quality palliative care when they need it.

As Bernard Jenkin MP, Chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, recently pointed out, there is a great library of reports that point out the problems in palliative care but comparatively little action from government and commissioners.

Help us start the debate

As a first step to changing this, we are calling on MPs to debate palliative care in the House of Commons, to highlight the case for change. More of us will be dying in the future, often with highly complex conditions. The need for care is growing but at the current pace of change we will fail to meet this demand, which means, in the future, even more people will miss out on palliative care.

But we need your help if we are going to make a debate happen. MPs need to know that this is an important issue for their constituents before they will commit to spending more parliamentary time on it.

If you agree that everyone who is living with a terminal illness deserves to get the care and support they need, when and where they need it, please ask your MP to support our call for a parliamentary debate.