MLAs give backing to Marie Curie

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Marie Curie has gained cross-party support at Stormont, including the support of all Foyle and East Londonderry MLAs, for a new charter that promotes the needs of terminally ill people.

The leadership of Northern Ireland’s five main political parties joined forces to officially signal their endorsement of leading palliative care charity, Marie Curie’s, charter for people living with any terminal illness.

Marie Curie’s ‘Charter for People with a Terminal- Illness’ in Northern Ireland aims to raise awareness of how someone with a terminal illness should be treated and consequently start to address some of the barriers that can prevent people accessing the care they need, namely what palliative care is and what services are available. It’s estimated that around 3000 people are missing out on the palliative care they need in Northern Ireland, and this unmet need is only set to rise if left unaddressed.

One of the most significant challenges facing Northern Ireland society is that more people are living longer. While this is to be celebrated, a consequence of this is that they will be living with one or more terminal illnesses and will have more complex needs.

This is further challenged by current financial pressures and a health and social care system that is undergoing significant change, but at same time must keep delivering services and providing care for people.

Cross party support for the Marie Curie charter demonstrates the Assembly’s recognition of how important it is to address the needs of people, and their families living with any terminal illness.

Commenting on the charity’s charter, Joan McEwan, Head of Policy for Marie Curie in NI said, “We are delighted that the five largest political parties in Northern Ireland have been able to come together to endorse our charter.

“I believe this shows a real intent by these parties to actively promote the needs of those living with any terminal illness and to help raise awareness of palliative care.

“This is important because our health service is stretched; people are already missing out on the palliative care they need and demand will continue to grow as increasing numbers of us will be living longer with complex conditions.

“By addressing how someone with a terminal illness should be treated, the charter helps to start the conversation about what palliative care is and what services are available.

“It can also support our clinicians and service providers deliver the highest levels of care to more people.”

In the current climate we need to prioritise how our limited resources are allocated.”