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GPs improve end-of-life care



By Christian Duffin

GPs have made ‘real progress’ in delivering end-of-life care to patients, with an increase in the proportion of practices using the Gold Standard Framework, a new analysis reports.

About 60% of patients on the palliative care register who died at home had their care co-ordinated using a care pathway and 74% of patients on the palliative care register had a key worker.

But GPs struggled to predict when patients were in need of end-of-life care, classing 42% of deaths as sudden or unpredictable.

The National Association for End of Life Care (Omega) collected data from 502 GP practices and analysed 4,500 patient deaths from 2009.

Omega said some practices were now far better at helping plan patients’ palliative care needs and deaths, but others were still not doing enough.

Dr David Plume, a GP adviser for Macmillan Cancer Support, said predicting patient needs was difficult because out-of-hours services and secondary care workers sometimes fail to pass on information.

GPs have made ‘real progress’ in delivering end-of-life care to patients