In the United Kingdom, the National Institute for Health and Care has just published “an end of life guide”. The concept of “palliative care” was created in this country (where euthanasia is prohibited) “following the work of pioneer, Cicely Saunders (1918-2005)” (see Death of the pioneer of palliative care). Palliative care seeks to alleviate “overall suffering”, i.e. physical as well as mental and spiritual suffering. This concept was then developed right across the globe (seeAnne-Marie Trébulle: “Let’s learn to alleviate suffering before taking extreme solutions”).
Two hundred thousand (200,000) terminally ill patients are currently being cared for in British palliative care institutions and “approximately 125,000 people volunteer their services in these hospices.
The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have welcomed the publication of the national guide because “it includes the spiritual or religious needs of the dying person” and “explicitly recognises that truly personalised care only happens when we ask people about their cultural, social, spiritual and religious preferences”. They see it as “an important victory for the diversity of their nation and for person-centred support”. Monsignor John Sherrington, auxiliary bishop of Westminster, has also expressed a desire for society “to be better at discussing death, and the spiritual and other issues which arise for the dying person and their loved ones”.