North London Partners in health and care

Specialist palliative care nurses recruited

Thirteen specialist nurses have been recruited as part of the North London Partners’ Last Phase of Life programme in a drive to ensure that patients in the last phase of life receive consistent standard of high quality care and, where possible, are able to die in their preferred place.

The recruitment push was led by North London Hospice for the boroughs of Barnet, Enfield and Haringey, and by CNWL (Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust) for Islington. Camden palliative care teams were not included as they already had sufficient capacity in their teams when compared with the others.              

The nurses are part of multidisciplinary community specialist palliative care teams whose members also include social workers, health care assistants, doctors and physiotherapists. The nurses, many of whom are band 6 associate clinical nurse specialists and band 7 clinical nurse specialists are skilled in pain and symptom management, as well as being experts in having compassionate conversations and supporting patients, their family and friends at the end of life.

It is estimated that there will be approximately 6,000 expected deaths across NCL over the year 2019/20.  Following the recruitment drive, the availability of community specialist palliative care across the five boroughs will be more equitable and this will help to ensure that patients are supported in their last phase of life.  

 “This is great example of partners working together to improve the experience of residents who are terminally ill.  We knew there was unmet need in end of life care, that residents in different boroughs had inequitable access to community based specialist palliative care teams, and that documentation of advance care planning discussions was different.  This improved capacity will mean that more patients will be supported by specialist palliative care and where, possible, to die in their preferred place.” said Caroline Stirling, NCL Last Phase of Life Clinical Lead. 

The service started recruitment in October 2018 with the first new nurses starting in January. Most of the roles have now been recruited to but there are still vacancies for two clinical nurse specialists.

For more information contact Patrick Schrijnen, Last Phase of Life Commissioner for NCL, email patrickschrijnen@nhs.net