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Ensuring access to palliative care and pain treatment

The Standing Committee, meeting in Helsinki, today proposed a series of measures to ensure access to palliative care, not just to the terminally ill but also to those who are chronically ill and to persons requiring high levels of individual care.

A resolution, adopted on the basis of the report by Rónán Mullen (Ireland, EPP/CD), called on member States to fully integrate palliative care into their health-care system and dedicate the necessary resources to it. States should also remove legal and regulatory obstacles that restrict access to pain-relieving medication, and ensure adequate training for health-care professionals, PACE said.

Beyond increased suffering for patients and families, the lack of palliative care services also involves higher costs for the health-care system due to hospital admissions and inappropriate recourse to expensive emergency services, the adopted text underlines.

Finally, the parliamentarians stressed the importance of supporting informal caregivers – spouses, partners, relatives and friends – who play a crucial role in providing palliative care to loved ones suffering from a chronic illness, disability or long-lasting health affliction.