Marie Curie to end Fife palliative care service
END OF LIFE: Charity claims rates offered in new contract are ‘unrealistic’
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.”
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.