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GPs give patients the most dignity at end of life

GP practices give the most consistent care and dignity to patients at the end of their lives compared with other NHS workers, a new report reveals.

The report from the Public Health England’s National End of Life Care Intelligence Network found that 72% of relatives reported GPs gave dignity and respect for the deceased ‘all the time’. This compared with 57% for hospital doctors and 48% for hospital nurses.

The ‘What We Know Now’ report also found that the scale of people dying at home or in care homes had increased from 37.9% in 2008 to 43.7% in 2012.

The quality of care was rated as excellent for 78% of people who had been in a hospice in their last three months. This compared with 46% who had been in a care home, 45% who received care from district and community nurses, 35% from GPs, 38% for hospital doctors and 35% for hospital nurses.

Quality of care from hospital nurses was rated as poorest (14.1%), compared with less than 4% for hospice care.

The report also showed that over 2,700 GPs have actively participated in the ‘find your 1% campaign’ since its launch and that a survey of 600 of those GPs showed an increase in people approaching the end of life recorded on a register and more proactive engagement with people in their last year of life.

Professor Julia Verne, clinical lead at PHE’s National End of Life Care Intelligence Network said: ‘This year has seen another leap forward in our understanding and the statistics reflect progress by the NHS and the voluntary sector in supporting more patients to die in their place of choice.

‘However, we cannot be complacent, the report highlights some aspects of patient experience which must improve, especially the care of the dying in hospital.’