Church of Scotland welcomes steps to improve end of life care

By agency reporter
December 21, 2015

The Church of Scotland has welcomed the publication of a new framework which seeks to improve palliative and end of life care over the next five years.

The Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, convener of the Church and Society Council, said good quality support was "essential" and urged the Scottish Government to increase the resources available.

The Church of Scotland provides palliative care through its social care arm CrossReach, which is one of the biggest organisations of its kind.

The government is investing £3.5 million in a Framework for Action on Palliative and End of Life Care which will be used to drive improvement across the sector and support targeted action on training and education.

It aims to ensure that everyone has good quality care regardless of their age, diagnosis, socio-economic background or where they live. The framework also addresses the need for greater openness about death, dying and bereavement in Scotland.

Ms Foster-Fulton said: "We welcome this report and its commitment to consistent, quality palliative care for everyone in Scotland who needs it. In recognising the need for care for the whole person – physical, psychological, spiritual, and social – palliative care helps to enhance the final days and weeks of not only the patient, but also their relatives and carers.

"Through our 800 parish ministers, located in every part of Scotland, as well as through specialist healthcare chaplains and thousands of our members involved in pastoral care, the Church has a unique insight into the care of those struggling with deteriorating health and striving for dignity in life.

"Through this role, offered to every person living in Scotland, we not only offer spiritual comfort to those coming towards the end of their lives (and [to}their families) but we also, with others, seek to ensure that their last days are as fulfilled as possible."

The framework includes ten commitments to support improvements in the delivery of palliative and end of life care across Scotland.

Ms Foster-Fulton said: "The provision of good quality palliative care is an essential part of the holistic approach for the care of those approaching the end of their lives and the Church of Scotland calls on the Scottish Government to increase the resources available for this important aspect of healthcare."

* Church of Scotland http://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/home

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