Letters

Access to specialist palliative care May be expnding too quickly

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.308.6929.655d (Published 05 March 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:655
  1. C Regnard,
  2. R Parker
  1. St Oswald's Hospice, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne NE3 1EE
  2. South East London Radiotherapy Centre, King's College Hospital, London SE5 9RS.

    EDITOR, - How do you decide when enough is enough? Previous estimates had suggested that around 15% of patients with cancer in Britain receive access to specialist care.1,2 Anthony M Smith and Ann Eve now suggest that the figure is much higher, offering the example that perhaps two thirds of patients dying of cancer are seen by specialist home care nurses.3 These higher estimates are offered with understandable pride in a movement that has established palliative care at many levels of health care, including the specialty of palliative medicine. But at what point does increasing availability of specialist care start to deskill other professionals?

    We believe that palliative care is a resource to existing services, not a replacement for those services. This belief was expressed in 19804 and is …

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