Improving the quality of end of life care for patients through new curriculum standards

Patients who are near or at the end of their life have a right to appropriate and compassionate treatment. Doctors must be able to provide this, by involving patients, their relatives, carers or other advocates in care decisions, making referrals, and seeking advice from colleagues when appropriate.

In 2018, we introduced specific end of life care requirements in Outcomes for graduates, which outlines the knowledge, skills and behaviours that new UK medical graduates must be able to show.

We’ve outlined a range of skills and abilities that are essential for newly-qualified doctors to give good care at what can be an emotionally challenging time for patients and their families, and for doctors themselves. This includes giving bad news, collaborating with patients and colleagues, and prescribing medicines safely and appropriately.

Medical schools have until the summer of 2020 to embed the new outcomes into their curricula, and we will be monitoring progress closely to ensure that newly-qualified doctors are equipped to begin to practise in the NHS.