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JULY 2015

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The BBC Drama Department Is A Terrible Place To Die


Writing in Huffington Post, Jonathan Ellis, Director of Policy and Advocacy at national hospice charity Hospice UK, bemoaned the attitude of BBC dramas towards hospices.


He writes that in a recent (6th June) episode of Casualty a woman called Julia, dying of cancer, wants to take one last holiday with her sons. He comments, “Fine so far. What is shocking is that one of the registrars seems to think that Julia's options were to ‘spend her last days with her boys abroad’ or be ‘stuck in some dingy hospice’.”


He goes on to say, “It struck me that hospice care in the BBC Drama Department must be pretty bleak. Just two months ago a character on EastEnders, Stan Carter, was dying and other characters raised objections about his being transferred to a ‘grotty hospice’.


“Walford and Holby aside, I have visited hospices across the UK and I am yet to see one that would be described anything like "dingy" or "grotty". People regularly leave hospices astounded at the wonderful places they have just seen and people whose loved ones have been cared for in hospices - or at home supported by hospice staff - tend to agree.


“The statistics also challenge the suggestion of hospices being anything other than full of compassion and dignity. The National Survey of Bereaved People (VOICES) in 2013 found hospice care was rated the highest quality care by those who had lost a loved one. Hospice staff lead the way in making sure that people are cared for with utmost dignity and respect - 84% said patients were ‘always’ shown dignity and respect by hospice doctors and 82% by hospice nurses.”


He concludes with, “I'm privileged to hear stories everyday of how hospices are making a difference, but I think if you asked one of the 360,000 patients and family members that are supported by hospices every year, the 125,000 volunteers who donate their time to local hospices, or more than 600 hospice runners who fundraised at this year's London Marathon, you will get a similar response.”  @