NCPC joins charity coalition calling for more choice for dying people

27 April 2015
A coalition of charities involved in palliative care, including our lead charity, the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC), says 1.4million people could die in hospital against their wishes over the course of the next Parliament.

The coalition, formed of Marie Curie, Sue Ryder, Hospice UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, Motor Neurone Disease Association and Cicley Saunders International, as well as NCPC, warns that unless action is taken by the next government, people at the end of life will continue to occupy hospital beds unnecessarily when they would rather be at home. It has called on the next government to lay out its plans to provide more options for people and for better end of life support. 
Half of the 550,000 UK deaths occur in hospitals each year, but 85% of those who die in hospital had expressed a desire to die at home. The charities say this is because of factors including a lack of 24/7 community support, poor coordination between services and the failure to provide fast and free social care support for people at the end of life.
There is scope for efficiency savings to be made by supporting those who want to spend their final days at home to do so. With access to high quality nursing care in the community, total care costs can be as much as £500 lower per person. All political parties have made some kind of commitment to improve choice at the end of life and to support more people to die at home
Speaking on behalf of the coalition, Dr Jane Collins, Chief Executive of Marie Curie, said: “It’s time to change the way we care for people with a terminal illness.  Fewer than 5% of people say they want to be in hospital at the end of their lives, yet around 50% of people who die do so in hospital, often with no clinical need to be there. 
“Pressure is increasing on NHS budgets and A&E departments are already over-stretched. The evidence shows that it makes financial sense for the NHS to support people to be cared for at home in their last weeks and days. This is also what the majority of people with a terminal illness would prefer. 
“Together, we are calling on all parties and the next Government to set out how they will introduce fast and free social care for everyone nearing the end of their lives to reduce pressure on hospitals and deliver genuine choice.”

NCPC backs MPs' call for free end of life care

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