NHS boards in Scotland have been told to raise their standards on palliative care after a critical report.

Audit Scotland says access to good palliative care varies across the country and boards should work more closely with other agencies, including councils and the voluntary sector.

Availability of specialist palliative care staff varies from 4.1 per 100,000 people in NHS Ayrshire and Arran to 7.3 in Greater Glasgow and Clyde and 11.2 in Highland, the report says.

Applying guidelines

Most care is carried out by generalists but guidelines are not applied everywhere and staff need more support.

Review of Palliative Care Services in Scotland says NHS boards should ensure they have an up-to-date palliative care strategy and work with voluntary agencies on protocols for referrals to specialist services.

A Scottish government spokesperson said: "We are developing our unified, Scotland-wide approach to palliative care and end of life provision and we expect to publish our proposals in October."