New charter on 'end of life' care
More than 8,000 GP surgeries in England will be asked to display a new patient charter on end of life care.
The document contains seven "pledges" to make the last few weeks and days of a person's life as comfortable as possible.
It has been created by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and Royal College of Nursing (RCN) as an example of the "best practice" all patients deserve from nurses and GPs in primary care.
The pledges include GPs and their practice teams "doing their utmost" to ensure the patient's remaining days are comfortable, and that they get all the specialist care and emotional and spiritual support they need.
Teams will also pledge to do all they can to help patients retain independence and control through the course of their illness, and to offer support to families.
Patients are invited to comment on the charter and offer suggestions for improving it.
It was formulated with the help of patients, nurses, GPs, specialists and representatives from health and social care.
A copy of the charter will be sent to 8,500 GP Practices across England to be displayed in waiting rooms.
Professor Keri Thomas, RCGP clinical champion for end of life care, said: "GPs and their teams have a special relationship not just with their patients but with the people close to them, all of whom need special care and support through the process of dying. We have the ability to co-ordinate good care and to help reduce some of the worry and stress when a loved one is approaching the end of their life."
A Department of Health spokesman said: "GPs and nurses have a vital role in providing high quality, compassionate end-of-life care, and that is why we welcome this End of Life Patient Charter. Progress is being made in improving end-of-life care, but we know more needs to be done and that is why we are modernising the NHS to improve training and ensure best practice is embedded across the NHS."