Terminal cancer patients who do not receive care in their homes are far more likely to die in hospital, a survey by the Office for National Statistics' has found.
The survey, the National Survey of Bereaved People 2013, showed that 17 per cent with a terminal diagnosis of cancer did not receive care or support in their homes. Of this number, seven per cent died at home, while 75 per cent died in hospital. In comparison, 44 per cent of people who received care in their home died there, while just 29 per cent died in hospital.
Lynda Thomas, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, says: 'We are confronted here with a bleak picture of people with cancer who cannot die at home when they want to. The analysis suggests that because many people do not have care at home, they ultimately do not get to choose where they die.'
Macmillan has previously estimated that three quarters of cancer patients with a terminal diagnosis wish to die in their own homes. However, only 30 per cent are able to do so. The charity has also reported that treating cancer patients in hospital places a huge financial strain on the NHS, with approximately £137 million spent in 2012.
Ms Thomas added: 'This lack of support for people with cancer can create an intolerable stress on family and friends at what is already a distressing time. And this too often results in dying people ending up in hospital against their wishes. Having help at home, even with tasks such as washing and getting dressed, could make a vital difference.'
Macmillan is now calling for all political parties to provide free health and social care at the end of life as part of their general election manifestos.