GP Backs Dying Matters week
A Leicestershire GP has urged local people to think ahead and plan their future options for care, by talking more openly about their wishes in the event of death.
Professor Mayur Lakhani, a practicing GP in Sileby has spoken out in support of Dying Matters week, which runs from 9-15 May. Someone in the UK dies every minute, but many of us still feel that talking about dying is a taboo subject. However, by initiating a conversation with their GP or care provider, and completing a care plan which details their wishes, people can have the end of life experience that is best for them.
Figures show that only 7% of the British public have documented their preferences about their future care, should they not be able to make a decision for themselves. Just 27% say they have discussed funeral wishes and only 35% say they have written a will.
Dying Matters week hopes to break the uneasiness surrounding death, dying and bereavement , by helping people talk more openly on the subject and plan for the future.
This year’s theme, the “Big Conversation” hopes to encourage us to be more open about dying and understand how talking about dying may not be easy, but it could be one of the most important conversations you will ever have.
Professor Mayur Lakhani, Chairman of the Leicestershire Integration Executive and of West Leicestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Death is a notoriously difficult subject to talk about, but Dying Matters lets people understand that openly talking about dying can help us make the most of life and support our loved ones.
“If you are 55 or over or have a life-limiting illness, please think ahead and plan your future. By taking the first step and having a conversation with your GP, you will be able to determine the care and support you would like to receive at the end of your life. Creating a care plan for clinicians to follow will remove fear of the unknown, and help you to have as good a death as possible, in the manner and place that you choose.
“I understand that this first conversation is not an easy one and these are difficult things to think about, but I want to urge people today to take that step and really remember that dying matters.”
Councillor Ernie White, chairman of the health and wellbeing board for Leicestershire County Council, said: “Dying Matters week is a significant step forward in terms of people speaking out.
“There is lots of practical advice available, which can be taken to put our final wishes in place, as well as how to spread the message through our communities of the importance of discussing what we want to happen at the end of our lives.”
Planning for the future is important and there are a number of steps people can take in order to prepare. As well as creating a care plan which details the care someone would like to receive at the end of your life, there are other things that people can do to prepare both themselves and their relatives for their death. These include: considering the legal and financial aspects of death; organ donation; considering how they would like to be remembered; and planning their own funeral arrangements.
For more information about the awareness week, or to find out how you can get help support the campaign please visit: www.dyingmatters.org
For interviews with Dr Lakhani, please contact Stuart Baxter on 0116 305 7683. Ends.
Professor Mayur Lakhani CBE FRCP FRCGP is a practising GP and active appraiser in Leicestershire. In 2007 he became the youngest ever Chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners when he was elected at the age of 43. For two years, 2006 and 2007, he was in the Health Services Journal (HSJ) Top 50 most influential people. He is the principal author of the landmark document ‘The future direction of general practice: a roadmap’, in which he first advocated the idea of federations. Since its formation in 2009, Professor Lakhani has been Chairman of the Dying Matters Coalition.
The Integration Executive board reports to the County Council Chief Executive and is responsible for leading on the integration of health and care in the area