Death has been medicalised and it is about time it was claimed back from the medics and given back to the community.
So it is good news for our district that North Lancashire has been chosen by the National Council for Palliative Care (an umbrella charity for all those involved in end of life and hospice care) and Public Health England (a government agency to improve health and wellbeing) as one of eight communities in England and Wales to pioneer a new public health approach to living and dying well.
The NHS is a great institution, but as a nation we need take it out of the political arena and have a grown up and realistic conversation about what its role should be.
For instance, in a National Audit Office study at least 40 per cent of people who died in hospital did not have medical needs that required them to be treated there and nearly a quarter of them had been in hospital over a month.
What is more is that whenever people are asked where they would like to die, hospital is by far the least preferred option, yet locally about half of deaths occur there.
So in other words there are people in hospital whose medical needs mean they could be elsewhere, but they end up staying in hospital and die there, which is exactly where they do not want to end their days.
They would prefer to die at home or in a hospice.
It is the hope of the ‘North Lancashire Compassionate Community’ to pioneer locally an approach to death that means more people have end of life care where they actually want it.
And in that case hospitals may have more beds to treat people who can be treated -and hopefully cure some of them.
If you are part of a community - be that a neighbourhood, work place, social club or church - and would like to find out more there is a meeting at St John’s Hospice 6pm to 7.30pm on Monday, April 20.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to attend.