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“The joy of data driving improvement”: end of life analysis welcomed by experts

A series of reports produced by MLCSU’s Strategy Unit on end of life care have been welcomed by the palliative care community, with one care service in Sandwell and West Birmingham welcoming the analysis: “the joy of data driving improvement in end of life and palliative care”.

Justine Wiltshire, Analyst at the Strategy Unit, explains why we were interested in looking at end of life care (0:45) and provides advice for people on how to use the information in the reports (1:55). See more videos presenting the analysis findings in the publication of the reports.

The reports describe the health services that patients use in the last two years of their lives in the Midlands region as a whole and for each of the 11 Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STP) or Integrated Care Systems in the region.

The aim is to present a comprehensive assessment of end of life care as it stands now. Improvements are only possible through examining a detailed insight into the local population, together with the perspectives of professionals and the people they serve.

“Powerful stuff”, said one palliative medicine specialists’ collaborative.

What next? Reflecting on the data and next steps, Catherine Walshe examined the subject in this blog. Catherine is a Professor of Palliative Care at the International Observatory on End of Life Care at Lancaster University.

She praised the value of the data and the weight it should carry as a tool of change:

“The type of data in the Strategy Unit’s analysis starts to help us to understand where we might be able to make changes that will improve the quality of care and dying for more people.“

The reports on health service use in the last two years of life also sparked commentary around one of the insights about chemotherapy the analysis highlighted.

In his blog, Seamus O’Mahony, professor at the Centre for the Humanities and Health at King’s College London and author of ‘The Way We Die Now’, notes how 16 per cent of patients in the report received chemotherapy in the last four weeks of life.

This interest further proves the importance and value of such analytical work. Follow up reports could bring the attention to many other insights.

The Strategy Unit is now looking to advance this work and would like to hear from people interested in further analysis of end of life care in specific areas – please contact us.

Visit to access the Strategy Unit’s latest free publications and analysis. Follow @MLCSU and @Strategy_Unit for regular updates.