Saint Michael’s Hospice: ‘Care system for dying patients needs overhaul’

Saint Michael's Hospice

Saint Michael's Hospice

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End-of-life care in Harrogate could go ‘disastrously wrong’ if the current system is left alone, according to the chief executive of Saint Michael’s Hospice.

A new report from the London School of Economics has highlighted that the palliative care system for patients is inadequate and needs a major overhaul to meet growing demand.

The report indicates that more than 100,000 people every year in the UK do not get the care and support they need towards the end of their lives.

And Tony Collins from Saint Michael’s argued that while there are 70-80 per cent of people benefiting from end of life hospice care in Harrogate, there are still 20 per cent who are not being reached.

In Harrogate, there are 1600 people who die every year and Mr Collins argued that due to the problem of a rapidly ageing population, this figure would reach 2,000 per year and increase after that.

The chief executive said that because of this demand for care in Harrogate increasing, the hospice needed increased funds and a joined up service to provide end of life care people deserve.

He said: “It’s a problem that’s been building up over some time and the answer is increasing the funding and also looking at what we do and asking how can we do it better.

“When you look at the stats, more than 90 per cent of people want to spend the end of their life in their own home or in a hospice but there are only about one in four people achieving that.

“One of the problems is the majority of people are dying in hospital and that costs a lot of money but to divert that money to hospice care would create a better picture.”

While Mr Collins welcomed the report, believing it shows something needs to be addressed, he was confident that staff at Saint Michael’s would ensure that end of life care services would continue to be provided.

He said: “Saint Michael’s have been increasing services year on year for the past six or seven years. I wouldn’t say we have a problem, we have an opportunity to get it right to more people.

“We’re not doing this for enough people, they can’t access this quality care. If you throw more money at Saint Michaels that’s not the whole answer.

“We have good people at Saint Michael’s who are aware of this, it’s just a matter of joining up services.”