Variations in the delivery of palliative care services to adults by the HSIB

27 July, 2023

Safety recommendations were made to NHS England following this investigation

The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) have published a new report in July 2023 based on an investigation which aimed to improve the experiences of people accessing palliative and end of life care (PEoLC) services in England. The report explores a ‘reference event’ of a 77 year old patient with sarcoma called Dermot and his families experience of his care (specifically PEoLC, not diagnosis and treatment).

Findings included that:

The availability of PEoLC across England is variable and inequitable. This is infuenced by the location of third-sector organisations, available charitable donations and NHS commissioning, and workforce shortages. There is no stated minimum standard for PEoLC that all people must be able to access.

Holistic assessments for PEoLC may focus on physical care needs, with more limited attention to identifying, understanding and addressing other care needs, particularly psychological needs.

Safety recommendations were made to NHS England following the investigation, including that ‘NHS England specifies a palliative and end of life care data set to help integrated care boards to understand their populations’ demographics and needs, in order to support commissioning and improvement of services.’ Safety actions were also recommended for Integrated Care Boards.

For more information, please see the HSIB website.