The size of the problem

Many patients in hospital who have pain or complex symptoms do not have access to a palliative care specialist. PATCH is committed to changing this.

Patients with the most complex needs are usually in hospital. One quarter of all admissions to an acute hospital have some palliative care needs and one third of all hospital beds are occupied by patients in their last year of life. [1]

However, many patients in hospital who have pain or complex symptoms do not have access to a palliative care specialist.[2]

Why building more hospices will not solve the problem…

Many more hospices would be needed in order to provide adequate palliative care. However, this would not solve the problem for the following reasons.

  • Most patients who are ill need to be admitted to a hospital first for tests and treatment.
  • Patients in hospital should still expect to receive treatment for their underlying illness as well as management of their symptoms.
  • It can be difficult in the most advanced cases, to be certain when treatment is no longer helping at which stage it may be too late or the patient may be too unwell to transfer to a hospice.

References and Footnotes

  1. Audit Scotland. (2008). Review of palliative care services in Scotland.
  2. Living and Dying Well Short Life Working Group 5. (2010). Recommendations on Palliative and end of life care in acute care .