Drew Hendry MP, who chairs the All-Party Group for Terminal Illness in the UK Parliament, has launched an inquiry into the effects of unsuitable housing and fuel poverty on the care and support people receive at the end of life.

Research has found that more than two-thirds of people say they would prefer to die at home, and dying at home is often used as an indicator that someone has had a ‘good death’. This inquiry, led by Mr Hendry, will explore the extent to which unsuitable housing, including the experience of fuel poverty or homelessness, affect people living with terminal illness, their families and carers. The inquiry will explore how these factors impact someone’s ability to die at home, if that is their wish.

The APPG is seeking evidence from individuals and organisations with expertise in fuel poverty, housing and homelessness issues, as well as those that work with people experiencing poverty, health and social care providers and people who have experienced terminal illness and bereavement. The call for evidence will remain open until Friday 2 April 2021.

The APPG’s work follows its previous inquiry, which found that inadequate income can lead to considerable financial strain, stress, anxiety and health impacts on people at the end of life, and a report on fuel poverty by the end of life charity, Marie Curie, which concluded that the impact of fuel poverty can hasten the death of some people with a terminal illness.

All evidence and insight provided will support the APPG to give recommendations to government, policymakers and providers to improve the end of life experience of people living with terminal illness.

Drew Hendry MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Terminal Illness, said:

The pandemic has shown us, in many ways, the negative impact poverty can have on health, well-being and mortality. However, the unequal outcomes faced by people experiencing poverty predate coronavirus.

“The tough decisions many people have to make around whether to eat tonight or heat their homes, the struggle to pay rent, or the challenges of living in poor quality housing do not disappear when somebody becomes terminally ill. Sadly, these challenges only become harder and for many, it brings about their death more quickly.

“This inquiry will seek to make strong recommendations to ensure that more people get the care and support they need when they are at their most vulnerable.

“Our system of health and social care must support all people from the cradle to the grave regardless of where the live, and furthermore, must do more to support the most in need.”

Mark Jackson, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at the end of life charity, Marie Curie, said:

“Most of us would hope for a peaceful end to our lives, surrounded by the people we love, in a place we feel most comfortable. Sadly, for too many people the assumptions we make that dying at home is ‘a good death’ couldn’t be further from the truth. People with terminal illnesses are some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, and when you combine that with experiencing poverty and living in unsuitable housing – or indeed no housing – then the reality of end of life for some is bleak.

“We hope to hear insights from contributors from all corners of the UK, to support us in tackling the scourge of end-of-life poverty.”

This call for evidence will remain open until Friday 2 April 2021. If you would like to submit evidence to the inquiry or for more information, please email Mark Jackson, Policy Manager for England at Marie Curie, at [email protected]

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