The national debate on the end of life has thrown a harsh light on the great misery of palliative care in France which, more than thirty years after the law which establishes it, still remains largely inaccessible for everyone and everywhere on the territory.
A situation obviously due to a lack of financial and human resources to develop them, but also to the weakness of a “palliative culture” both among the general public, who often equates a palliative care service with a “death”, only with health personnel more trained to cure than to support when so-called “curative” medicine can no longer do anything.
A ten-year strategy
To fill this void, the minister responsible for territorial organization and the health professions, Agnès Firmin Le Bodo, launched a “palliative culture workshop” on Tuesday 31 January with the working group of carers – doctors and paramedical professions, nurses, nursing assistants – whom she has been consulting regularly since November. Objective: to redraw, by June, the strategy to improve information, initial and continuous training and research in palliative care.
The Minister’s diagnosis is not new. In its opinion 139 entitled Ethical issues relating to end-of-life situations published last September 13, the National Consultative Ethics Committee (CCNE) already recommended making palliative care “a priority for public health policies”.
“This does not require legislative change but proactive measures to truly integrate palliative care into the practice of all health professionals and in all care settings, in hospitals, nursing homes or at home”, emphasizes former MEP Alain Claeys, co-rapporteur of the opinion.
Un plan national
Among the measures to be taken, the CCNE listed the development of a university discipline dedicated to palliative care, support for research, a reform of tariffs in hospitals which better value relational care or even the obligation to register palliative care in regional health programs and medico-social establishment projects.
Similarly, the national plan for the development of palliative care for the period 2021-2024, endowed with 180 million euros, has developed several actions in favor of public information campaigns, the recruitment of specialized practitioners, support for teams palliative care units or the creation of dedicated hospital units in 8 of the 21 departments that still do not have them. “We are trying to strengthen the care offer as well as possible with the means we are given”, explained Doctor Olivier Mermet, co-pilot of the national plan, during his hearing on January 20 by the Citizens’ Convention on the end of life.
Ensuring access to quality palliative care
Message seems to have been received 5 out of 5 by the minister in charge of the file. “Despite significant progress, this plan is not moving fast enough. To go further, we must review the approach followed so far. This is what we are going to tackle, ”said Agnès Firmin Le Bodo. A promise that will be accompanied by an envelope to meet the needs? “You first have to write down what you want to do, then we’ll find the necessary budgets,” she explains. The challenge is to ensure equal access for all French people to quality palliative care. »
🟠📽️#FinDeVie : comment @The cross will deal with the debate, @jchapuis
“We are among those who wonder and even worry about the risks of abuse. But we are above all committed to helping everyone, whatever their convictions, to enter into the complexity of the subject.” pic.twitter.com/vRLTTW8R0u
— The Cross (@LaCroix) December 8, 2022
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