Letter: How to achieve a dignified death

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your excellent coverage of the report of the House of Lords select committee on medical ethics, including Bryan Appleyard's sensitive article (17 February), referred to the Lords' recommendation that public support for the hospice movement be improved. The section of the report headed 'Health Care Resources' argues that, despite the inevitable constraints on healthcare resources, there is 'a compelling social responsibility to care adequately for those who are elderly, dying or disabled'.

As health authority purchasers are currently negotiating contracts with hospices, this part of the report should be made available to them. Government policy is to meet half the costs of voluntary hospices; the average voluntary hospice receives less than 40 per cent of its funding in this way. And many NHS hospices raise up to one-third of their revenue from the public.

Yours faithfully,


Executive Director

National Council for

Hospice and Specialist

Palliative Care Services

London, W1