What do we mean by palliative care?

Palliative care is the active holistic care of patients with advanced progressive illness. Management of pain and other symptoms and provision of psychological, social and spiritual support is paramount. The goal of palliative care is the achievement of the best quality of life for patients and their families. Many aspects of palliative care are also applicable earlier in the course of the illness in conjunction with other treatments.

Palliative care aims to:

  • Affirm life and regard dying as a normal process
  • Provide relief from pain and other distressing symptoms
  • Integrate the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care
  • Offer a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death
  • Offer a support system to help the family cope during the patient's illness and in their own bereavement

What is the cost of palliative care in Somerset?

It costs our charity £10m a year to operate our service. That's over £27,000 a day to provide care to those with an end of life care need. In Somerset there are 5,000 people who need this level of support. St. Margaret's supports over 3,200 people and their families.

How is St. Margaret's currently funded?

All the care we provide is free of charge, at the point of delivery. We rely on a number of income streams including; donations, grants, shop income, fundraising, lottery and legacies on top of the NHS contribution. Last year we received roughly £2.4m from our local NHS Clinical Commissioning Group to contribute to our clinical costs.

In the year ahead, we anticipate costs of £10m to operate. This means relying on the charitable support of our local community for this amount.

How has the panel been selected?

We have selected it carefully on the basis that it represents all corners of the community reflecting our desire to engage with as many people as is possible across the county. It includes healthcare experts, church leaders, national cancer charities, the local authority, academia and public/carer representatives.

How are all the ideas that are submitted going to be processed and what criteria will we use to select those ones that will have most impact?

The considerable collective experience of the panel will steer our decision making, combined with budgetary considerations.

What happens to the review when it is completed?

We are going to develop new models of care which will enable us to provide better care, more efficiently, thereby addressing the challenges that we are facing.

Is there a fundraising element to the review?

No, this is not about fundraising - it's about engaging with communities across Somerset to work together to create new models of care which enables us to provide better care, more efficiently in the future.

When do you think the new models of care will be implemented?

It is very difficult to put a precise date on implementation as we don't know what the new models will look like. However, our intention is to implement them as quickly as possible once they are decided upon.

How can members of the community get involved in the review?

We want as many members of the community to provide their ideas and views. They can do this via this interactive website and by writing to us. In addition we will be running a number of community focus groups as part of the review.

How can members of the community get involved in the focus groups?

These will be decided by the panel to ensure a cross section of the community is represented, which is critical to ensuring we get as wide a range of views as possible.