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GPs 'fail to discuss' end-of-life wishes

Published on 15 May 2012 02:00 PM

Around a third of GPs in the UK do not talk to older patients approaching death about their wishes, new research suggests.

According to figures from the Dying Matters Coalition, which represents organisations such as care homes and charities, three quarters of doctors and members of the public feel that death is not a subject Britons are keen to broach.

The study indicates that some GPs might be failing to conform with guidelines because they do not discuss end-of-life preferences with their patients such as where they would prefer to pass away.

The coalition's survey, which ComRes compiled, found that only around a third of the public have a Will at present.

Commenting on the figures, Eve Richardson, chief executive of the Dying Matters Coalition and the National Council for Palliative Care, said: 'Every minute someone in England dies, but many people including GPs still feel uncomfortable discussing end of life issues.'

She added: 'Talking about dying is in everyone's interests. That's why we want as many people as possible to discuss their end of life wishes.'

Michelle Mitchell, Age UK Charity Director General, commented: 'Good end of life care must be available to everyone. GPs play a key role in every stage of a person's life, particularly at the most difficult stages. This survey shows that more needs to be done to support people at the end of life.

'It is essential that end of life care is a priority for the NHS and that wellbeing and dignity is at the forefront of care for older people. Understanding and a willingness to engage on the issue of dying is integral to delivering good end of life care.'

Copyright Press Association 2012

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Last updated: Dec 05 2018

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