"Remember that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return"
The sombre invocation of the Ash Wednesday Mass. But somehow it’s not gloomy but uplifting. It puts things into perspective and gives us a more balanced view of life's troubles.
So interesting that Andy Burnham chooses this time to announce that a Labour Government would give the right to die at home statutory backing, probably in the NHS Constitution. This is great news and he is to be congratulated. It has been a standing shame that the majority of people at the end of life die in a hospital bed, often in the most undignified circumstances and despite the fact most people would choose to die at home or in a hospice.
I know DH have been looking at this issue, so it’s time for Jeremy Hunt to match that promise. But it will require very different commissioning of palliative services and a stronger role for hospices and charities who work with people in their homes. There have been great advances in the ability to provide quite high level medical support in the home. What a disgrace that some commissioners have cut back on palliative care in the home to insist patients get treated in hospitals, because of the hospital funding crisis. So we need a guarantee and a kick to CCGs to enable the resources for this to happen.
Worth mentioning also that we’ll hear from Andy Burnham at our Annual Health Conference on 25 March. We have Jeremy Hughes too, talking about the recent Oldham report on person centred health (published Tuesday); he was one of the Commissioners.
Worth coming! You can book here: http://www.acevo.org.uk/health-and-social-care-conference-2014
It’s a great spring morning, and as I walked across Brockwell Park to get the train to a speaking engagement I have to say my mind was not on death but on the possibilities of life and leadership.