Access to Palliative Care Bill receives second reading in the UK House of Lords

17th June 2019

On Friday 14th June the private members’ bill Access to Palliative Care Bill  received its second reading in the House of Lords. The bill is sponsored by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff who is a member of CS International’s Scientific Expert Panel.

Members discussed a range of issues highlighted by the bill, including: training for palliative care specialists; palliative care for babies, children and for those with learning disabilities; and the responsibility of Clinical Commissioning Groups to identify, fund support and provide services to those with palliative care needs.

Introducing the bill, Lady Finlay quoted the words of Cicely Saunders that the way a person dies lives on in the memories of those left behind.  The implications of poor or non-existent services and clinical failings at the end of life have a devastating impact on society, particularly on child bereavement.

The Rt Rev Christopher Cogsworth, Bishop of Coventry asserted that the prospect of a peaceful death is a universal hope and should be provided to everyone.

For the Government Lady Barran said that the Government was committed to improving care but questioned whether legislation to improve one type of care was the right approach as it could complicate local planning.  In this she was challenged by crossbench peer Lady Hollins who stated that there is strong precedent for a specific condition being mandated in care policy, namely in the case of maternity services.

After debate, the motion was agreed to, and the bill was committed to a Committee of the Whole House.

You can follow the progress of the bill via:  https://services.parliament.uk/Bills/2017-19/accesstopalliativecare.html