CQC to investigate end of life care

The CQC is to launch a review into the inequalities in end of life care this summer.

Such a review was one of the recommendations resulting from the independent review of the Liverpool care pathway published by the Department of Health in July 2013.  The recommendation stated “The Care Quality Commission should carry out a thematic review within the next 12 months of how dying patients are treated across the various settings, from acute hospitals to nursing and care homes, as well as hospice and the community.”

During the review CQC will examine geographic variations in the quality of end of life care as well as examining the experience of patients from different ethnic backgrounds, people from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities and those with conditions such as dementia, mental health needs, learning disabilities and non-cancer diagnoses.

Sir Mike Richards, the Chief Inspector of Hospitals said “There are a huge number of inequalities in end of life care.  There are the inequalities by geography – we know that from the survey of bereaved relatives.  There’s undoubtedly inequality by diagnosis – cancer patients get a better deal than other people.  There are inequalities by where you happen to be, with hospitals doing undoubtedly the worst, and care homes doing a whole lot better.  Hospices do best.  But then on top of that, much less is known about various specific vulnerable groups.”

CQC is expected to report its findings in March next year.

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