In the final installment of our Dying Matters Week blogs, we hear from Dr Catrin Edwards, Hospice UK Policy and Advocacy Manager (Wales) about access to hospice care in Wales.

"We need to talk. A recent poll conducted by ComRes for Hospice UK found that most people still prefer to hear about a death through a conversation with a mutual friend, in comparison with hearing through social media or through a letter. It seems we still want to talk and have that immediacy of response when we’re faced with death, dying and bereavement.

Byw Nawr – Dying Matters Week is an opportunity to start talking. This, no doubt, can have a supportive effect for bereaved people. But it’s also important that we start talking earlier on, before people have died. Talking, and planning, can have a transformative effect on ensuring that people get access to the hospice and palliative care they may need.

Around 1 in 4 people across the UK are missing out on hospice care; that’s around 6,000 people in Wales. Hospice UK is determined to change that. We’re supporting a group of Assembly Members in Wales from across political parties to undertake an inquiry into access to hospice care.

Contributors to the inquiry have told Assembly Members that too few people are aware of the role hospices and palliative care teams can provide early on to people with life-limiting conditions. As a sector, we need to be talking more about the impact early access to appropriate palliative care can have on a person, helping them live their life to the full. This includes talking to our colleagues across the care sector and supporting them to enable more of the people they care for to access the right care, at the right time. We want the Welsh Government and statutory bodies across Wales to support us in making this a reality. Let’s get talking!"

The National Assembly for Wales’s Cross Party Group on Hospices and Palliative Care will report on the inquiry’ findings in July, with the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services responding to the Group’s recommendations in its meeting on 11 July 2018.

Hospice UK is the national charity for hospice care. We champion and support the work of the charitable hospices in Wales and across the UK so that they can deliver the highest quality of care to people with terminal or life-limiting conditions, and support their families.

For more information about Hospice UK’s policy and advocacy work in Wales, please contact Dr Catrin Edwards [email protected].