Ipswich/East Suffolk: Clinical commissioning group area in top 10% nationally for helping patients die at home

PUBLISHED: 09:02 15 October 2014 | UPDATED: 09:02 15 October 2014

Die at home figures are positive for Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG

Die at home figures are positive for Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG

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The number of people in Suffolk who have been able to choose to die in their own homes is due to hard work by health workers, according to a GP.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics showing how many people died in a place of “usual residence” in each clinical commissioning group area have ranked Ipswich and East Suffolk 12th out of 211.

The data revealed 52.2% of people in the area who died between April 2013 and March 2014 did so where they lived, classed as either their own home, a care home or a religious establishment. The average for England was 44.7%.

Paul Driscoll, a doctor in Felixstowe and a board member of the Suffolk GP Federation, said these national figures reflected their own local ones.

“We were good to begin with,” he said. “We have always been ahead of the game.

“It’s particularly important because this is the benchmark for end of life care.”

Dr Driscoll added a lot of people and services are involved in making sure patients are able to choose where they die and “the GP is the linchpin” in this process.

“We have realised that doesn’t just happen on its own,” he said.

He also said one problem was people being taken into hospital despite wanting to die at home because there was no way for out of hours teams or paramedics to know about their choice.

“We realised we needed to be helping the ambulance and out of hours services in identifying the patients hospital treatment wasn’t appropriate for,” Dr Driscoll added.

“I think this is where the GPs and the district nurses are needed because we have close relationships with the patients and it takes quite a lot of care and sensitivity.

“There’s been some stuff in the press about it being done really badly. We have learnt from how not to do it.

“Where it’s been a little bit difficult it has been a good opportunity to talk about someone’s situation. Most people have got an idea about what their wishes would be.”

Dr Driscoll said the feedback from patients and their families was they were grateful for the chance to talk about their decision.

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