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Palliative care: 'My dad should not have been expected to die in office hours'

A woman who struggled to access night-time care for her dying father has told the BBC he "shouldn't have been expected to die in office hours".

Tracey Bennett said she was "completely lost" when her dad Michael needed help.

Early in 2021, Mrs Bennett, 54, from Doncaster, moved in with her dad, 76-year-old Michael Woodward, to care for him in the last stages of his cancer.

One night he had a fall. Mrs Bennett was able to help him back up but turned to the local NHS palliative care phone line for help, only to find it closed.

Although she did not feel her father should be in a hospital, she called 999 as she felt she had no-one else to turn to. He died in the early hours of the next morning.

"In his hour of need I feel I let my dad down," she said. "He shouldn't have been expected to die in office hours."

Almost 70% of the UK does not have a consistent 24-hour help-line for the terminally ill, research suggests.

And 27% of these areas do not have a designated phone line, the study funded by Marie Curie found.

Ruth Driscoll, from the charity, said the research painted "a bleak picture of out-of-hours care in many areas of the UK".

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Source: BBC News, 28 November 2022


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