Letter: How the law could better help the doctor

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The Independent Online
sir: While Dr John Searle makes relevant points in his letter (23 September) on the need for more palliative care, he should take heart that positive change is on its way. A great deal is being done throughout the country with the help of such organisations as the Cancer Relief Macmillan Fund and Marie Curie Cancer Care, both of which provide nursing and medical support for people who are dying.

District health authorities in the South West Thames region and elsewhere are working with health service and hospice providers to give the kind of pain-free care that is the right of everyone with a terminal illness. Over the past two years key staff have been identified in each of our 13 districts with specific responsibility for palliative care. Health districts with responsibility for responding to the health needs of their local people are increasingly accepting the importance of pain relief and palliative care and the need to plan for them in the health care they purchase.

We may have a long way to go in delivery of palliative care nationwide but I believe the road we are travelling is the right one.

Yours faithfully

SUE HAWKETT

Senior Nurse, Palliative Care

South West Thames Regional

Health Authority

London, W2

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