End of Life care

This area of the website offers information to the public and professionals about the range of end of life care services available in Cornwall. NHS Kernow views end of life care as a high priority and wants to ensure high quality end of life care. We want to enable choice for local people so that they can choose where they want to receive care and to ensure that they receive the best possible support.

We want to ensure that people in Cornwall achieve a good death in their preferred place of care and reduce the number of un-necessary admissions for patients at the end of their lives. This will be achieved through appropriate training, enhanced community based services and clear communication across agencies to increase positive experiences for individuals, families and carers.

Ambitions for palliative and End of Life care

This is a national framework for local action 2015/20 aimed at local health and social care and community leaders. It builds on the Department of Health’s 2008 Strategy for End of Life Care and responds to an increased emphasis on local decision making in the delivery of palliative and end of life care services since the introduction of the Health and Social Care Act 2012. This national framework for action sets out six ‘ambitions’ – principles for how care for those nearing death should be delivered at local level. These are: 

  1. Each person is seen as an individual
  2. Each person gets fair access to care
  3. Maximising comfort and wellbeing
  4. Care is coordinated
  5. All staff are prepared to care
  6. Each community is prepared to help. 

It is crucial that our plans and pathways align with the most recent national guidance. As part of our plans, we hope to design an end of life pathway, which will include:

  • Better awareness about what is available locally for people at the end of their life, and what we can all do to prepare (such as make a will and talk to our loved ones about our choices and preferences)
  • Better identification of people in the last year of life: we want to work with health professionals so that people can receive the best possible support if they are in their last year of life, and the person and their family are supported to feel in control of the care they receive
  • Making sure the best possible care is in place to meet people’s needs as their condition changes and/or worsens.
  • A single point of access for patients, loved ones and carers across Cornwall. It will coordinate care, take enquiries, signpost and help people to reach the most appropriate care and support.

We will bring together local organisations and work with patients and the public to develop our plans. The groups involved are care homes, Devon DoctorsHealthwatch Cornwall, St Julias / Mount Edgcumbe (Cornwall) and St Lukes (Plymouth) Hospices, MacmillanMarie Curie , Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Primary care (GPs, practice nurses and pharmacists), Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust and South West Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust.


Healthwatch Cornwall conducted research in early 2015 into the services that provide end of life care and support to Cornwall and The Isles of Scilly. From this, five recommendations were made, including the need for professionals to address any gaps in service or issues they faced on a day-to-day basis. Read their report here

On 29 January 2016, Healthwatch ran 'A Good Death' - Cornwall's first end of life conference. The conference was attended by health professionals across Cornwall. You can find out more about this conference here.

National links

  • NHS Choices provides a comprehensive health information service with thousands of articles, videos and tools, helping you to make the best choices about your health and lifestyle, but also about making the most of NHS and social care services in England.
  • Dying Matters is a coalition of 32,000 members across England and Wales which aims to help people talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life.
  • National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC) is the umbrella charity for all those involved in palliative, end of life and hospice care in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.