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Relatives to measure commissioners on quality of end-of-life care

Exclusive: CCGs will be benchmarked on the quality of care provided in the last few months of life by the relatives of patients who have died, Pulse can reveal.

Department of Health plans to improve end-of-life care will see data from the national rollout of the VOICES (Views of Informal Carers - Evaluation of Services) questionnaire published later this year. The questionnaire will rate the dignity, care setting and co-ordination of end-of-life care provided.

Professor Mike Richards, DH cancer tsar, said the data would initially be at PCT cluster level, and would later be broken down to CCG level.

He told Pulse: ‘We piloted this last year in a couple of PCTs and we have now done a much larger survey across the country and are getting in the results at the moment.

‘It is quite clear that we can ask relatives what they thought of the care that people got. I think this is going to be a very useful driver to say: "How can we do better?"

‘It will be the first time that we have a national picture of what happens in the last few months of life.'

Professor Richards said the DH was also looking at developing a new tariff for palliative care that would enable voluntary groups and other providers to be paid consistently for end-of-life care.