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Concern people are not getting the chance for a ‘good death’ in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 11:17 05 November 2018 | UPDATED: 11:17 05 November 2018

Bill Borrett. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Bill Borrett. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2013

Concerns have been raised that people are not getting the chance to have a good death in Norfolk - because there are not enough palliative care beds.

Concerns have been raised that people are not getting the chance to have a good death in Norfolk - because there are not enough palliative care beds.

County councillors heard how the county is between 62 and 82 beds short of recommended guidance.

And there is currently no hospice provision in the Great Yarmouth and Waveney area at all, members of Norfolk County Council’s adult social care committee heard.

While a contract is out for tender for provision in that area, councillors have agreed that Dr Louise Smith, director of public health at the council, should examine the situation over end of life care.

Bill Borrett, Conservative chairman of the committee, said: “The demands of an ageing population are placing significant demands on end of life services, both within the NHS and in social care services.

“In Norfolk, with its distribution of population across significant rural areas, the provision of adequate end of life care has been a challenge.”

Mr Borrett said Dr Smith’s work would see her discuss the issue with NHS providers.

He said: “I am expecting the health service to get more involved, because people are dying in hospital in a very medicalised, hospital environment which the NHS can’t afford.

“I know from the experience of my own father that it’s not being handled terribly well by the NHS at the moment.”

Labour’s adult social care spokesperson Brenda Jones said: “Having a good death is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“I’m not trying to trivialise that, but I am overwhelmingly concerned that people are not having a good death.

“It causes great distress to families.”

Penny Carpenter, Conservative councillor for Caister-on-Sea, a cancer patient herself, said the lack of options for people in Great Yarmouth and Waveney was of concern.

Once Dr Smith’s report is completed, it will be discussed by the health and wellbeing board.

Becky Cooper, head of palliative care at Norfolk Community Health and Care (NCHC), recently said she was optimistic the postcode lottery for palliative care would be fixed.

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