Supporting Palliative Patients

Improvements in treatment mean that more people live longer with cancer that cannot be cured but can often be treated.

All of those patients, who have yet reached the point where they require specialist palliative services or hospice care, require specific high quality support, tailored to their own specific needs. This may include emotional support that helps them with planning for the future, with practical help and signposting to people and organisations that can help them to live a better quality of life with their diagnosis.

We believe, however, that there are unacceptable variations in access to this support across West Yorkshire and Harrogate. Our Cancer Alliance has been working with the Yorkshire and Humber Clinical Leads for Palliative Care - Charlotte Rock, Macmillan Palliative Care Nurse Specialist, and Dr Suzanne Kite, Consultant in Pallative Medicine, to look at gaps in the support offered to patients, family members and carers, after a person has a diagnosis of incurable cancer, to see how these needs can be better met and to develop a proposal of support.

We have been engaging with patients/carers/family members and bereaved family to ask about what worked well in terms of support following an incurable cancer diagnosis and what support was missing. We've asked about communication and conversations, what information was given, any holistic assessments offered and where people were signposted to support. We want to learn from patients and families how this could be improved and how they think the unmet support needs could be better met.

All information provided is completely confidential and anonymous.

Click on the picture below to watch and listen to Barbara's experience of palliative care.

In addition to hearing from those affected by cancer, we have also been engaging with the workforce in the six local places that make up our Alliance and beginning conversations across the professions - hospital staff, community palliative services, hospice teams, allied health professionals, GPs, carers and others - to hear their views and experiences.

Following this work, a report has been written with recommendations to improve support for this specific group of patients.

Click here to access the report - Supporting Patients Living With A Palliative Cancer Diagnosis across West Yorkshire and Harrogate Cancer Alliance.

Please note: A further event is being held on 9th July 2019 for providers, commissioners, professionals, patients and carers to progress the report's recommendations and ensure those affected by a palliative diagnosis receive the support they need.

For more information about the event, and this area of work in general, contact Janette Earnshaw, Macmillan Living With and Beyond Cancer Project Manager and Lead for Supporting Patients Living With A Palliative Cancer Diagnosis,, telephone 01924 317560

Other Useful Links

Click here to visit the End of Life Care pages on the NHS England website.

Dying Matters is a coalition of individual and organisational members across England and Wales, which aims to help people talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life. Click here to access the Dying Matters website.