Saluting the admirable work of Dorothy House

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Michelle Donelan Column dorothy house 1 sep 16
It was wonderful to have recently visited the Dorothy House Hospice, where I met with staff to discuss the amazing and instrumental work that they do for our community. Most constituents will know of Dorothy House’s chain of charity shops but less are aware of the specific work of their Bradford on Avon hospice.

My experience of volunteering at Dorothy House and my visits to their shops and the hospice, including their recent 40th birthday celebrations with Princess Anne, have left me with a strong sense of appreciation for the invaluable role that hospices play throughout Wiltshire and the country as a whole in supporting patients and their loved ones during an advanced illness and end of life care. I know from personal experience how valued hospices are, not just for those who are ill but, importantly, for their loved ones as well.

As a society we must secure the highest standards of care for people at the end of their lives. I believe that one of the best ways to do this is to ensure that we support the expert and compassionate work done by hospices, recognising the valuable skill-sets that they have.

I was pleased when the previous Government abolished the outrageously immoral Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP), which my grandmother was placed on, and enhanced the level of individual choice when it comes to end of life care. The LCP was intended to allow people with a terminal illness to die with more dignity but there were several high-profile allegations where people were placed on the LCP without their consent or without their friend’s or family’s knowledge. Instead, there is now a personalised end of life care plan backed up by condition-specific best practice guidance, agreed with a named senior clinician for each patient. Patients and families now are entitled to tailored end of life care and specific support.

With an aging population, end of life care is becoming more and more important it is a topic which I believe must always remain at the top of the agenda. Population growth and advances in medicine allow people, including those who are terminally ill, to live far longer than before and means that such care is becoming even more important. I would like to thank Dorothy House, in particular their dedicated care and support staff, for all of their hard work and the help they give to so many families who have lost loved ones.

Dorothy House and others achieve the near impossible and make death less painful for those suffering and help families cope with their loss. This iconic charity is a part of the fabric of Wiltshire and I will work hard to ensure that it remains so. I will continue to fight for more support for Dorothy House and hospices throughout our county as well as more recognition of their staff’s admirable work.