Thursday, January 21, 2010

Church of England and Dying Matters Coalition.

From Britain, where the struggle over patients' end of life rights is as intense as our own here in the US, news of the Church of England's joining with other organizations to form Dying Matters Coalition, an organization committed to making "a good death" the norm in health care. The organization is headed by the National Coalition of Palliative Care (NCPC). From the Church of England's website:

The Church of England has joined more than 1,000 organisations in the national Dying Matters Coalition. Led by the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC), working closely with the Department of Health (DH) and other key stakeholders, the coalition aims to promote public awareness around death, dying and bereavement.

The Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Tom Butler, vice chair of the Archbishops' Council's Mission and Public Affairs Council, said: “I welcome the Dying Matters initiative as an important contribution to the debate about dying and death. The advances in palliative and end of life care have been helpful in improving the quality of life of those who are dying and their families, and I hope that this new coalition will bring help and information to many people.”

Hilary Fisher, Director of the Dying Matters Coalition, said: “We are delighted that the Church of England has joined the Dying Matters coalition. For too long, issues of death and bereavement have been perceived as too big or scary to talk about; the ensuing silence has resulted in isolation and confusion among dying people and their families. Openness, conversation and communication are vital in addressing this.

“Dying Matters has over a thousand members, including community groups, healthcare bodies, private individuals and groups representing a range of faiths. The Church of England’s voice is welcome in a conversation that should continue across all sections of our society."

The overall mission of the coalition is to make a ‘good death’ a normal expectation, and for dying, death and bereavement to be accepted as a natural part of everybody’s life cycle. An agreed programme of planned collective action is to be formulated by the coalition to ensure that progress is made as a key part of the implementation of the Government’s End of Life Care Strategy for England.

More information on Dying Matters is available here.

Details of the End of Life Care Strategy are available here.

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