Key Publications

This section of the website contains the main policy documents relating to adult palliative care in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Republic of Ireland

NACPC Report
Report of the National Advisory Committee on Palliative Care (NACPC Report) - Dept of Health and Children *

It is anticipated that the need for palliative care services will increase in coming years. Population projections indicate that between 1996 and 2031 the population aged 65 years and over is expected to more than double. Currently, over 95% of all patients availing of palliative care services suffer from cancer. The number of people dying from cancer is expected to rise in future years, due to the ageing population.

Palliative Care Services - Five Year/Medium Term Development Plan - Health Service Executive
Palliative Care Services - Five Year/Medium Term Development Plan - Health Service Executive

The objective of this document is to detail the Palliative Care Services - Five Year/Medium Term Development Framework (2009-2013). It has been developed using a holistic, system-wide, approach to addressing the level of need identified by both the Baseline Study on the Provision of Hospice/Specialist Palliative Care Services in Ireland (2006) as as the HSE Audit of Palliative Care Service Provision (2007). The document does represent a new strategy for palliative care. This document details the required actions and initiatives necessary to address teh gaps in palliative care service provision, against the recommendations set out in the NACPC Report.

Palliative Care Competence Framework Development

The framework describes core competences and discipline specific competences for twelve health and social care disciplines. It is envisioned that the framework will inform academic curricula and professional development programmes and so foster greater inter-professional and inter-organisational collaboration in palliative care provision.

The Ombudsman report, “A Good Death” highlights complaints received by the Ombudsman relating to end of life care, in a series of reflections on common themes. The report focuses on opportunities for learning and improvement particularly with regard to difficulties associated with communication regarding end of life care. The Ombudsman’s Casebook is a quarterly report summarising complaints received.

A Good Death: Progress Report 2018 was published September 2018 on developments in End of Life Care in Irish Hospitals since the publication of the Ombudsman’s report in 2014.

Northern Ireland

A Good Death - Office of the Ombudsman
'Living Matters:Dying Matters'. A Palliative and End of Life Care Strategy for Adults in Northern Ireland - DHSSPSNI

The vision of this Strategy is that any person with an advanced non-curative condition, lives well and dies well irrespective of their condition or care setting. This requires a philosophy of palliative and end of life care that is person-centred and which takes a holistic approach to planning, co-ordinating and delivering high quality reliable care, enabling patients to retain control, dignity and crucially, choice in how and where their care is delivered to the end of their life.

Palliative and End-of-Life Care Competency Assessment Tool

The Competency Assessment Tool has been developed by a multidisciplinary group, currently practicing within the Health & Social Care Trusts, the independent and the voluntary sector within Northern Ireland. The competencies within the tool can be interpreted and applied across the range of sectors, settings and disciplines which provide palliative and end-of-life care. They are inclusive of all adult populations, regardless of diagnosis, culture or need. The Assessment Tool will assist individuals to build on the skills they already have, shaping professional practice in accordance with the document Living Matters: Dying Matters, a Strategy for Palliative and End of Life Care for Adults in Northern Ireland (Department of Health and Social Services and Public Safety, 2010).