AN ESTIMATED 290 cancer patients a year in West Cheshire and Chester die in hospital instead of their homes, new figures reveal.
The figures, released by Macmillan Cancer Support, show that three quarters of cancer patients in England who die in hospital would prefer to die at home.
About 400 cancer patients died in hospital in West Cheshire and Chester last year and the report estimates 290 of those would have preferred to pass away at home.
A national survey reveals that for cancer patients last year, care in hospitals was often subpar. Of those who died at home, 63 per cent rated the overall quality of care received as excellent or outstanding, compared to only 37 per cent of those who died in hospitals.
It was also reported that over two out of five people with terminal cancer were not always treated with dignity and respect by hospital doctors.
Existing Macmillan research reveals that the majority of health professionals agree access to social care services is crucial for keeping people out of hospital. However, two years after the Palliative Care Funding Review, recommended that social care should be free for those at the end of life, thousands of cancer patients are still spending their last remaining days on a hospital ward.
Today Macmillan launches a new report, “Time to choose”, which sets out new recommendations for improving choice at end of life for cancer patients. It also calls for social care free for everyone in the last weeks of life.
Ciarán Devane, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, 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 choice about where they die.”
Macmillan Cancer Support is calling on the Government and the NHS to adopt the recommendations in the “Time to choose” report. If you or your loved ones need information or support call 0800 808 00 00 or visit macmillan.org.uk/socialcare.