Charity’s call over end-of-life choice for Bradford cancer patients (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Charity’s call over end-of-life choice for Bradford cancer patients
A national charity claims 250 cancer patients in Bradford died in hospital beds last year when they would have preferred to die at home.
But new figures show the city had a lower percentage of people suffering from the illness who spent their final days in hospital than most places in Yorkshire.
In the Bradford local authority area last year, 1,099 people died of cancer and, of those, 350 died in hospital – a total of 31 per cent.
However, Research by Macmillan Cancer Support estimates that three quarters of those, or 250 people, would have wanted to die at home if they had the choice.
Today, the charity is publishing a new report, titled Time To Choose, which sets out new recommendations for improving choice at end of life for cancer patients.
Sarah Holmes, consultant in palliative care medicine at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said it was “important” that patients reaching the end of their lives have the opportunity to discuss all aspects of their future care.
“We recognise that many patients prefer to die at home, and are working across the trust as part of our Last Year of Life project to make sure that patients have the opportunity to discuss where they wish to die, and to try to ensure that we achieve this wherever possible.
“In Bradford, only 30 per cent of patients with cancer die in the acute hospital, and the number of patients with any diagnosis who die in hospital has fallen from 47 to 43 per cent.”
In Leeds, 32 per cent of cancer patients died in hospital, with the figure standing at 39 per cent and 31 per cent in Kirklees and Calderdale respectively.
Macmillan is calling on the Government to make social care free for everyone in the last weeks of life before the end of this Parliament in 2015.
Ciarán Devane, chief executive of the charity, 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 hospitals 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.”
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