NORTH Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood says he is keen to ensure that in making changes to end-of-life health care in North Wales, the Welsh NHS listens to charitable and independent hospices who have shown great success in delivering more for the resources available.
Raising the issue in the Assembly Chamber with the Health Minister last week, Mr Isherwood, who is Chair of the Cross Party Group on Hospices and Palliative Care, said: “Under the heading ‘Enhanced care at home’, the Betsi Cadwaladr University Local Health Board document, ‘Healthcare in North Wales is Changing’, states that it would ensure consistent delivery of end-of-life care, connecting primary care, community services, hospice support and specialist palliative care teams to support people to die at home, in accordance with their wishes and those of their families.
“However, there is no reference to what the Welsh NHS could learn from our charitable hospices about the integration of care services in the home, community hospitals and hospices. How will the Welsh Government ensure that charitable and independent hospices across Wales will be given the opportunity to help NHS and social service home-care providers to deliver more for the resources available?”
The Minister, Lesley Griffiths, agreed that the need for integrated services is key to the way forward.
She said: “The Social Services Bill will show us the way forward on that. Having said that, I am also aware that there are excellent examples of integrated care at the end of life in people’s homes. I am sure that you would want to join with me in acknowledging the role of the voluntary sector in providing this.”
In an Assembly Debate on Hospices and Palliative Care earlier this year, Mr Isherwood described hospice care as “one of Wales’ greatest success stories” and emphasised that across Wales, local charitable hospices care for more than 5,000 people affected by terminal illness each year.