The development of palliative care in national government policy in England, 1986-2000

Mathew, Alison; Cowley, Sarah; Bliss, Julie; Thistlewood, Gillian
April 2003
Palliative Medicine;Apr2003, Vol. 17 Issue 3, p270
Academic Journal
Palliative care is an established and expanding speciality, important in many areas of service delivery within health and social services and the voluntary sector. Traditionally, palliative care is viewed as most closely linked to cancer services. National government policy has an inevitable impact on the organization and provision of such services. As part of a wider project, an investigation of the content and development of English government policy relating to palliative care was carried out. The development of policy follows a cycle that has no closure; it takes place within changing contexts, between multiple organizations and across sectors. Data collection involved the collation and close examination of policy documents and other documents that demonstrably influenced policy. This was in order to identify a national view of policy intentions for palliative care. In total, 53 policy documents were examined. The analysis revealed a number of pertinent issues relating to shifts in funding policies and an evolving definition of palliative care. There is an increasing recognition in the policy documents of the need for palliative care to extend beyond the traditional focus on cancer services and terminal illness. In tandem, is an increasing recognition of the need for partnership between sectors, reflected in more recent health and social services legislation.


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