‘Hundreds denied last wish to die at home’

By Harriet Ernstsons Friday 03 January 2014 Updated: 03/01 09:20

HUNDREDS of county cancer patients are being denied their last wish to die at home.

Figures released by Macmillan Cancer Support show 440 Worcestershire residents want to die at home but pass away in hospital beds each year.

Chief executive Ciarán Devane said: “As the Government makes up its mind about whether to fund and implement free social care at the end of life, thousands of people with terminal cancer are being left to die in hospital beds against their wishes.

“This is putting an unnecessary strain on our A&E departments because people are not getting access to social care for themselves or for their carers which would enable them to be cared for in the comfort of their own home.

“It’s simply not good enough to pay lip service to this issue – we need to see action

“If the Government wants the NHS to deliver world-class care at the end of life in the UK, it needs to start by giving people a real choice about where they die.”

Over the last five years the number of people dying in Worcestershire’s hospitals has dropped from about 45 per cent to around 38 per cent as a result of a number of measures including investment in more palliative care consultants, Macmillan nurses, educating GPs, making sure out of hours doctors and the ambulance service are aware of people’s wishes and encouraging people to talk more about how and where they want to die.

Visit www.macmillan.org.uk/social care or call 0800 808 0000 for more.

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