Quarter of terminally ill Scots not getting care they need

Press release published

One in four Scots who have experience of a relative or close friend with a terminal illness said they did not get the care they need, charity Marie Curie reveals today (5 February 2018).[1]

The figure is so high, believes Marie Curie, because services are not always shaped around the needs of the individual. People living with a terminal illness often need different care at different stages and from many specialisms within health and social care. 

Marie Curie also reveals that nearly one in three Scots (29%) are not confident that they would receive the high quality care they need if they were diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Also in the YouGov poll of 1,000 Scots, the research shows the top reasons that people feel they would not get the care they’d need. These were:

  • An increase in the number of people having more than one terminal condition (61%) 
  • A lack of health service funding (60%)
  • Higher numbers of terminally ill people meaning the health services finds it harder to cope (58%)
  • Less availability of high quality care at home (55%)

However, the survey results also show that Scots have more confidence in Scottish health and social care than they do in English healthcare - over half (54%) believe that they would get better quality care in Scotland than they would in England.

The Scottish Government’s vision is that everyone who needs palliative care will have access to it by 2021 in addition Marie Curie also want people’s wishes to be included in decisions about their care.

Susan Lowes, Marie Curie Policy and Public Affairs Manager Scotland, said:

We continue to hear that terminally ill people don’t get the care they need or it comes too late. If care is not taking into account the person’s needs and their preferences then this could explain why.

By involving patients and families in the decision that affect end of life care we can improve confidence, improve knowledge of all the options open to them, help avoid unnecessary treatment and reduce emergency admissions.

That’s why we’ve created a new information resource called You Matter, which tells patients, families and health care professionals how to make person-centred care available to more people. There’s only one chance to get this right because you matter.

You Matter was created following an event with Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood in late 2017, to encourage people to think about the care they would want at the end of their life.

It covers the simple steps towards person-centred care such a preparing a Power of Attorney, letting loved ones know personal wishes and planning ahead to record the type of care you want and where you want to receive it.

Download the leaflet at mariecurie.org.uk/youmatter

[1] YouGov survey of 1,000 Scottish adults between 7th - 9th November 2017

Notes to Editor

Join in the conversation on twitter using #YouMatter

Marie Curie wants everyone to have access to tailored care and support and to be able to live as well as they can in the time remaining to them. At the most difficult time of someone’s life, when they’re told their condition will certainly reduce the time they have left, worries over whether they will get the high quality care that they need will cause unnecessary stress to both the patient and family members.

Marie Curie believes the lack of public confidence may reflect the changing demographics and increase in demand for palliative care - the number of Scots aged 75 or over is predicted to increase by 85% by 2039 to over 800,000 people which will mean more people will need specialist support.

About Marie Curie – Care and support through terminal illness

Marie Curie is the UK’s leading charity for people with any terminal illness. The charity helps people living with a terminal illness and their families make the most of the time they have together by delivering expert hands-on care, emotional support, research and guidance.

Marie Curie employs more than 2,700 nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals, and with its nine hospices around the UK including Edinburgh and Glasgow, is the largest provider of hospice beds outside the NHS.

For more information visit www.mariecurie.org.uk
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