Just half of clinical professionals believe that people with terminal illnesses receive adequate palliative care in their own homes.
An Ipsos MORI survey commissioned by Marie Curie surveyed 500 clinical professionals on the standards and quality of palliative care for people with terminal illnesses.
Just over half (53%) of respondents agreed that the needs of patients are adequately met overall but far fewer agreed that the same is true for people using out-of-hours care or accident and emergency. The same percentage agreed that patients receive adequate care in their own homes.
A third of respondents agreed that out-of-hours medical care met people's needs adequately.
The clinicians were then asked to indicate in order of importance what needed to happen to improve the quality of care for those with a terminal illness. They had to give each point a score from one to 10, where one is not important and 10 means very important. The key priorities were: improved coordination of care between health and social care, improved coordination of care between acute and community providers and better planning of social services.
Dr Jane Collins, chief executive of Marie Curie, said: 'These findings do not paint a great picture for people living with a terminal illness in the UK today. It is undeniable that many people do not get the care and support they need and everyone from medical professionals, researchers, policy-makers and those affected by terminal illness understand this. If the current system of care is failing to deliver now, how will it cope with the demand to come?'
A report from the London School of Economics also commisioned by Marie Curie found that there were inequalities between the types of people who receive the right care. The researchers found that where people lived, the condition they have, their age and their ethnic background can influence the care experienced.
They also found that there was considerable under-provision and service gaps which is only set to grow as the UK population ages. The research suggests that investment in palliative care services in the community is cost-effective and needs to be
These results appear to reflect the views of carers. In a recent survey of 1067 carers in the UK 68% said that people with terminal illnesses dont get all the care and support they need.