Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Spotlight Spotlight: Palliative Care Beyond Cancer

Achieving a good death for all

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 16 September 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c4861

Rapid Response:

Authors' Response

The expectation of society is that the training of doctors and nurses
incorporates the care of patients in the last hours and days of life and
the support of their carers. In reality this is sadly lacking. Many
curricula for medical, nursing and allied healthcare professional
workforce do not contain care of the dying as a core element of pre or
post registration training.

The LCP like any tool or technology is only as good as the teams who
are using it and requires an education and training programme both in its
implementation and to sustain it in the clinical environment. The LCP is
not the answer to the challenge for care of the dying in our society but a
step in the right direction, it will take more than one tool to change the
culture of dying in our health economy. The publication of the Route to
Success for End of Life Care in acute hospitals by the National End of
Life Care Programme is welcome and addresses a broad range of issues(1).

Dr. Clearkin has clearly articulated in his response to our article
the gaps in the knowledge and skills of the workforce as demonstrated by
the National Audit results. We welcome his comments and support his vision
that a good death for all should be the norm and not the exception in our
society, but it will take an increase if not mandatory training in care of
the dying if indeed this goal is to be achieved.

accessed 13 October 2010.

Competing interests: No competing interests

15 October 2010
John E Ellershaw
Steve Dewar and Deborah Murphy
Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute Liverpool (MCPCIL), University of Liverpool