HC Deb 22 July 1997 vol 298 c571W
Mr. David Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures he is taking to increase access to palliative care; [7902]

Mr. Brady

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the Government's policy on the development of palliative care. [8179]

Ms Jowell

The Government are aware of the valuable work of hospices and specialist palliative care units in this country. The development of palliative care has done much to change our attitude to death and the process of dying, demonstrating the positive aspects of good management of the patient up to the point of death. With appropriate palliative care, pain and other distressing symptoms can be greatly reduced and people helped to cope. We are committed to expanding palliative care for the dying in all settings. It is our policy that specialist palliative care should be available to all those in need of it, wherever they may live, as is recognised in the report "A Policy Framework for commissioning cancer services"—the "Calman/Hine" report—and the associated guidance in Executive Letter EL(96)85 "A Policy Framework for Commissioning Cancer Services: Palliative Care Services". Copies of both these documents are available in the Library. We look to all health authorities to ensure that they have a strategy in place to achieve this and we are encouraging increasing provision throughout the national health service.

Mr. Brady

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will ensure that the Government's review of the NHS takes full account of the relationship between the NHS and the independent hospice movement; and if he will make a statement. [8181]

Mr. Milburn

The comprehensive spending review will review all aspects of Government spending in the context of the Government's election manifesto commitmentif you are ill or injured there will be a National Health Service there to help; and access to it will be based on need and need alone—and not on your ability to pay, or on who your general practitioner happens to be or where you live".

We welcome any contributions from interested parties such as the independent hospice movement.