Hospices in Wales have been guaranteed NHS funding over the next three years by palliative care recommendations adopted by Health Minister Edwina Hart.
The cash will depend on core services for the terminally ill provided by specially-trained staff, and improved standards of out-of-hours services, according to a report.
The recommendations are intended to ensure the same standard of service across Wales, and remove the need for hospices to lobby the assembly government for more money.
The report’s lead author, Baroness Finlay, a consultant in palliative medicine, said: “Patients should have excellent care at the end of life wherever they are – whether it be at home, in a hospice, a nursing home or hospital bed.”
She and her co-authors were particularly struck by the plight of patients’ families who felt let down and who complained about not knowing who was on call to look after their relatives.
She added: “This is a problem to be addressed urgently and therefore the establishment of a single contact number and patient card will be explored.
“This would ensure patients are not sent into hospital unnecessarily or, where they are admitted, the appropriate team are rapidly involved in their care.”
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