Radio 4's Sunday programme highlights the need to improve access to end of life care

by Ian Gittens
Senior Project Manager, Diversity

Ian Gittens, Senior Project Manager (Diversity)

This weekend, Radio 4's Sunday programme, which looks at the week's religious and ethical news, featured a really interesting report on end of life care. The report focused in particular on the experience of those from Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.

It was interesting to hear the head of chaplaincy and bereavement services at Newham University Hospital in East London talk about the changing social landscape and the fact that people from BAME backgrounds are the least likely to die at home. This chimes with the research we have conducted and the practical experience in some of our hospices, most notably the Marie Curie Hospices in Bradford and Cardiff and the Vale.

Read more about our work to improve access in Cardiff

There is still an assumption that people from BAME communities prefer to ‘look after their own’. The reality is that third and fourth generation descendants of migrants from the Asian subcontinent and the Caribbean in particular are widely dispersed across the UK, have wider commitments and, in general, are not equipped to provide on-going care for terminally ill relatives at home or in the community, as may have been the case with previous generations.

What Marie Curie is doing

Our work now draws on the perspectives from different communities to inform how we develop Marie Curie services to make them more inclusive and accommodating of the needs of the diverse populations we serve and increase their engagement with and access to Marie Curie. We are seeing the results of this work in the increasingly diverse service user profiles in these two hospices in particular.

Marie Curie is looking to use the lessons we have learned from current projects – for example, our Palliative and end of life care for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups in the UK report – to inform our future work with the different communities we serve; always remembering that each individual is different and that this cuts across other characteristics and identities.

Listen to the full broadcast (the end of life care segment begins at 25: 35).