Charity calls for more social care for dying cancer patients in East Anglia

More than 1,400 cancer patients in East Anglia died in hospital beds last year when they wanted to die at home, according to a new report.

Macmillan Cancer Support will today call for the government to make social care free for everyone in the last weeks of life after a survey of bereaved relatives and carers revealed that care in hospitals was often subpar to the care received at home.

The Time to Choose report says that almost three quarters of cancer patients in England who die in hospital beds wanted to die at home, which equates to 760 people in Norfolk each year, 325 in Suffolk and 340 in Cambridgeshire.

A survey of relatives and carer revealed that of those who died at home, 63pc rated the overall quality of care received as excellent or outstanding, compared to only 37pc of those who died in hospitals.

Furthermore, it was reported that over two out of five people with terminal cancer were not always treated with dignity and respect by hospital doctors during their last hospital admission. The charity added that research shows that 96pc of health professionals agree that access to social care services is crucial for keeping people out of hospital.

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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. 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.'

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