A YORK GP practice has won a national award for the work its done to improve end of life care.

Priory Medical Group has been working to improve the end of life care for its patients - increasing by a third the number of patients fulfilling their wish to die at home.

In recognition of its work, the practice has been presented with a Gold Standards Framework Quality Hallmark Award at a special ceremony in London.

Dr Victoria Middleton, who led the nine-site practice’s end of life care improvement programme, said: “There is definitely a feeling of greater confidence in caring for patients, a higher level of awareness of their needs and better planning and preparation.

“Because we have identified patients earlier and engaged them in conversations about their care, we almost always have the plans in place, have communicated with the Out of Hours teams and have the meds in place. This means that patients are getting a better death and families can grieve better.”

The work at the practice has seen staff identify many more people approaching the end of life and give eight times more patients the chance to say what they want to happen, particularly the number of frail elderly people.

This means many more have had the death they wanted and there has been a reduction of 350 avoidable hospital admissions.

Dr Middleton said: “We communicate much better with the hospital now – receiving better information on discharge.”

And she said about care homes: “Previously the care home staff might panic, call an ambulance. The resident would be admitted to hospital and most likely end up dying there. Now with good care plans in place, agreed with everyone, we have helped massively reduce the number of admissions to hospital from care homes.”

GSF is the largest national programme to help improve care for patients approaching the end of life, helping health and social care professionals provide coordinated, personalised care for patients and their families and reduces hospital admissions.

Prof Keri Thomas, Clinical Director of the National GSF Centre, said: “The team at Priory Medical Group has demonstrated a real passion for providing quality care for all of their patients who are approaching the end of their lives. Most importantly they are helping these patients live their final months in the place and manner of their choosing, through better planning, communication and coordination.”