I AM pleased to see that the Scottish Government has just announced some strong and much-needed commitments that could dramatically improve access to palliative and end of life care. However, what is now needed is clear, strong guidance for Scotland's new health and social care integration authorities. Otherwise, the Government’s new approach will have little or no effect for the 10,0000plus Scots who miss out on palliative care every year.

The success of this strategy rests on effective co-ordination between all the agencies working in health and social care. The new health and social care integration authorities which have been set up to achieve this are, according to last week's report by Audit Scotland, still struggling to get off the ground and unlikely to make significant improvements to care any time soon.

As a charity that provides care for people living their last days, we see the huge difference that good quality, holistic palliative care can make. It can relieve physical and emotional pain and distress, and support people at the end of their lives to die where they choose.

For the health and social care integration authorities to stand a chance of improving access to palliative care it is vital that there is clarity on what is expected of them and how they must put this into practice. I shall be writing to the Scottish government to offer our charity’s support in providing more practical guidance to the integration authorities so they can meet the promise of palliative care for all.

Pamela Mackenzie,

Assistant Director for Scottish services,

Sue Ryder (health and social care charity), Dee View Court, Caiesdykes Road, Kincorth, Aberdeen.