end of life2
Palliative care recognised
18 March 2014

Palliative care recognised

Our Midhurst Macmillan specialist palliative care service was cited recently by NHS England as an example of transformational practice to help guide commissioners nationwide as they develop their local strategies to improve care and manage finances. 

This service is run in collaboration with Macmillan Cancer Support based in Midhurst and serves patients in Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire. 

The team of nurses, palliative care consultants, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and volunteers supports patients and their family or carers as they approach the terminal phase of their condition. It works to enable patients to be cared for at home, avoid unnecessary hospital admissions and die with dignity in their place of choice. 

It featured last year in research led by The King’s Fund looking at five successful delivery models to illustrate what works in terms of planning, organisation and leadership. 

Over the past decade, national strategies and initiatives have been developed to improve end of life care. Yet despite surveys showing that more than 60 per cent of people would prefer to die at home, most people still die in hospital. As NHS England says ‘effective palliative care solutions are still in their infancy… with variations in both care and patient experience’. 

By contrast, in 2012/13, the overwhelming majority of patients (81 per cent) seen by our Midhurst service were cared for where they wanted to be. Where we knew their preference, 91 per cent were able to die in their place of choice. 

Palliative care in Brighton & Hove

It’s a service we can be proud of, just as we’re proud of the recently established palliative care partnership in Brighton & Hove which brings together our specialist palliative care team in the city and the Martlets Hospice. Since April 2013 the partnership has helped prevent at least ten inappropriate admissions to hospital per month and supported 80 per cent of patients on the caseload to die in their preferred place. 

A key feature of our palliative care approach is our vision of personalised care responding to the changing needs of patients with multiple morbidities or complex needs. As the King’s Fund finds in its Midhurst study: ‘the culture is marked by a team ethos that puts the patient first, has a holistic approach… and a flat hierarchical structure… This vision has been translated into a ‘can-do’ attitude’. 

NHS England concludes that ‘Midhurst represents a model which provides best practice care… and presents an affordable alternative to traditional hospice models’. 

More information:

Midhurst Macmillan specialist palliative care service

Brighton & Hove palliative care partnership

NHS England’s Anytown planning toolkit,