Living in fear of the final years

Over one third of north east Scots over the age of 50 are not confident they will get the care they need toward the end of their life, according to a new survey.

Only nine per cent felt very confident they would get the care they need, in the poll carried out by YouGov on behalf of Marie Curie.

Almost two thirds of those aged over 50 in north east Scotland were concerned that busy hospital home staff do not have the time to care for people with terminal illnesses.

Across Scotland, the wider survey of over 1,006 adults found that nearly half of those over 50 (48 per cent) – over one million Scots – admit they have been affected by terminal illness of a loved one in the last 10 years.

Similar to the local results in north east Scotland, only nine per cent of those over 50 across Scotland felt very confident they would get the care they need at the end of their lives.

Concern that busy hospitals and care home staff do not have the time to care for people with terminal illnesses was echoed across Scotland by those aged over 50.

The findings reflect the growing uncertainty about how Scotland will support people with a terminal illness now and in the future.

In Scotland, there are an estimated 40,000 of the 54,700 people who die each year that need some palliative care.

Currently, nearly 11,000 people do not get the care they need at the end of their lives.

It is thought this problem will get worse over time with the number of people dying in Scotland due to increase by 7000 each year by 2037.

Susan Lowes, Marie Curie policy & public affairs manager, Scotland, said the results were a cause for concern.

She added: “This research paints a disturbing picture of overall confidence in end of life care in north east Scotland today.

“This is why palliative care must be a high priority for the newly formed Integration Joint Boards for health and social care.

“Everyone should have the right to palliative care and be able to live as well as they can until they die.

“The findings tell us that we need to make sure people have confidence in local services and that those delivering the care have the knowledge, skills and time to make this happen.”