Health chiefs urge doctors to discuss death with patients

BBC has acquired figures for out-of-hours medical provision.
BBC has acquired figures for out-of-hours medical provision.
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Doctors need to get better at talking to patients about dying, a report has suggested.

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) said confidence was one of the main barriers, with many from medical students to consultants feeling uncomfortable about initiating such conversations.

Some doctors also avoid the topic as they feel death could be perceived as failure as ­modern medicine is expected to cure all ailments, the report found.

The RCP said as nearly half of all deaths in the UK occur in hospital and many patients admitted to hospital are within the last year of life, it was vital healthcare professionals had the skills to undertake sensitive conversations at the appropriate time.

The report found evidence from patients and carers that many people did want to talk about death and planning helped patients feel more empowered about their care.