The NHS could save money by investing more in social care and meeting the wishes of many cancer patients who would rather die at home than in hospital, it is claimed.
A survey released by Macmillan Cancer Support reveals that around two out of every three (65%) cancer patients who died in hospital in England wanted to have their final moments at home.
The results are published as a cross-party committee of MPs and Lords has issued a strong recommendation to the government to introduce free social care for people at the end of life “at the earliest opportunity” to help more people to die in a place of their own choosing.
A national survey of bereaved relatives and carers suggested that around nine out of 10 (91%) cancer patients in England who died in hospital last year actually said they wanted to die elsewhere.
Given the major cost implications for the NHS of hospital-based care, Macmillan believes it is simply not affordable to continue treating people in hospital against their wishes.
In a new ICM poll of GPs, oncologists and cancer nurses it is revealed that 86% of respondents think providing free end-of-life social care to help more people die at home would save the NHS money.
The vast majority (99%) of health professionals think cancer patients should be supported to die at home if that is their wish, the new survey found.
However, 99% of health professionals say there is a lack of appropriate services for that to happen.
The survey also shows that 97% of respondents cite slow and complex needs assessments as a key stumbling block in the provision of appropriate social care at the end of life.
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