Intended for healthcare professionals


UK: the best place in the world to die

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 15 October 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h5440
  1. John Hughes, medical director
  1. 1Sue Ryder, London WC1H 0AF, UK

But could still be better

The 2015 Quality Of Death Index from the Economist Intelligence Unit once again ranks the United Kingdom as providing the best “quality of death” and “quality of palliative care” in a comparison of 80 countries.1 The exemplary features of the highest scoring health economies include a national policy framework for palliative care, relatively high levels of healthcare expenditure, good training in specialist and generalist palliative care, financial subsidies (from the charitable sector in the case of the UK), availability of opioids, and public awareness of palliative care.

However, even within the UK, there are notable failings. The report highlights examples of poor symptom control at the end of life, poor communications with patients and families, and inadequate generalist and specialist out of hours services. It cites this year’s …

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