Marie Curie to end Fife pal­lia­tive care ser­vice

END OF LIFE: Char­ity claims rates of­fered in new con­tract are ‘un­re­al­is­tic’

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - NEWS - Claire War­ren­der

Scores of ter­mi­nally-ill Fifers are at risk of dy­ing in hos­pi­tal in­stead of at home as fund­ing cuts bite, a lead­ing char­ity has claimed.

Marie Curie has an­nounced it is end­ing its pal­lia­tive care ser­vices in the re­gion at the end of May amid fears the rates be­ing of­fered in a new con­tract would not al­low it to de­liver the same level of care.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion said the rates quoted by Fife Health and So­cial Care Part­ner­ship were “un­re­al­is­tic and re­stric­tive”.

Richard Meade, Marie Curie head of pol­icy and pub­lic af­fairs in Scot­land, pre­dicted the con­tract would re­sult in re­duced qual­ity of care for the 300 peo­ple it treats ev­ery year and warned the im­pact would ex­tend be­yond pa­tients.

“Peo­ple are more likely to die in hos­pi­tal than in the com­mu­nity or in their own home, putting greater pres­sure on acute ser­vices,” he said.

“It can also have an im­me­di­ate and long-term im­pact on fam­ily mem­bers who may have to pro­vide the main car­ing role.

“With­out ad­e­quate sup­port from ser­vices fam­i­lies are at in­creased risk of be­ing over­whelmed by that role and the pos­si­bil­ity of the care break­ing down.”

Mr Meade said the Health and So­cial Care Part­ner­ship, jointly run by NHS Fife and Fife Coun­cil, had in­cor­po­rated pal­lia­tive care into a much larger con­tract dom­i­nated by so­cial care.

He cau­tioned against such a move, de­spite po­ten­tial ef­fi­cien­cies.

Mid Scot­land and Fife MSP Alex Row­ley de­scribed the news as wor­ry­ing.

“It would seem cuts to bud­gets are be­ing passed on in these vi­tal ser­vices,” he said.

“End of life care and sup­port should be of the best stan­dard and qual­ity and when we have an or­gan­i­sa­tion with the

“Peo­ple are more likely to die in hos­pi­tal than in the com­mu­nity or in their own home

ex­per­tise of Marie Curie telling us that this new con­tract can­not de­liver this then we need to de­mand that the man­agers in health and so­cial care think again.”

Claire Dob­son, the part­ner­ship’s di­vi­sional gen­eral man­ager, said: “Re­gard­less of who is de­liv­er­ing ser­vices, the pro­vi­sion of high-qual­ity care which en­sures each in­di­vid­ual’s per­sonal dig­nity through­out their jour­ney is our first pri­or­ity.

“This is never more so when it comes to the sen­si­tiv­ity of pal­lia­tive care and the choices of ser­vice users and their car­ers.

“As with all our ser­vice providers, we value greatly the work­ing re­la­tion­ship with Marie Curie and so it is dis­ap­point­ing that we’ve not had the op­por­tu­nity to dis­cuss their con­cerns.

“We are ac­tively seek­ing ur­gent dis­cus­sions with them in or­der to find a more pos­i­tive way for­ward.”


Pic­ture: Tina Nor­ris.

Nan Bond, widow of Rab, who died of a brain tu­mour two years ago, is cam­paign­ing to save fund­ing for the Marie Curie pal­lia­tive care ser­vice in Fife.

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