Cornwall’s End of Life Support

Over the last few years, MPs have tackled some very controversial issues that perhaps our predecessors would have shied away from.

Child sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation, and tackling the stigma of mental health were significant themes of the last Parliament.

So what taboo is going to be tackled in this Parliament? In England, there are about 500,000 deaths each year, of whom approximately 80% were people aged over 65. Despite this huge number, few of us seem prepared to share our thoughts with even those closest to us about living with a period of ill health before death.

Huge amounts of public policy has been developed to enable a good start to life but far less is concerned with our final years and exit. Why isn’t this more of a priority?

It might well be that too many of us don’t like to think about losing the people we love and are fearful of the end of our own lives, but we will all die and more needs to be done to enable a good death.

Last year’s excellent parliamentary debate on proposals to legalise assisted suicide clearly reflected the deep emotions death stirs in us all and the fact that it is a difficult subject to talk openly about.

I support vastly improved end of life care and the Government has stated its commitment to ensuring that all people at the end of life in England receive the best possible care.

Here in the West Country, Health Watch Cornwall conducted research in early 2015 into Cornwall’s end-of-life support and five recommendations were made. I am optimistic that following their excellent conference last week that an End-of-Life Charter for Cornwall, based on the feedback from a wide range of professionals, will be implemented and local care improved.

Published by West Briton.