Emma Reynolds – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Emma Reynolds on 2016-01-12.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps (a) his Department and (b) NHS England is taking to ensure that patients who cannot consume food in the normal way are receiving the correct treatment through tube and sip feeds.

Ben Gummer

Information on annual National Health Service spend on medically assisted nutrition in end of life care is not held centrally.

It is for clinicians with responsibility for the care of people at the end of life to ensure their patients receive care and treatment appropriate to their needs. Similarly, local commissioners are responsible for ensuring the services they commission meet the needs of their local populations.

In 2014 we set out five priorities for care of the dying person which should underpin the care being delivered to all dying people. Alongside the priorities, we set out the duties and responsibilities for all staff with responsibility for looking after dying people and implementation guidance for all providers and commissioners of care. The priorities for care state that an individual plan of care, which includes food and drink, symptom control and psychological, social and spiritual support, is agreed, co-ordinated and delivered with compassion.

In December 2015, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence published guidance on the care of dying adults in the last days of life, including guidance on medical nutrition and hydration. Clinicians and commissioners should have regard to this guidance when making decisions about care for people at the end of life.