NHS
Over the course of the next Parliament, 1.4 million people could die in hospital when their preference was to die at homeGetty

The NHS is being urged to allow more terminally ill people to die at their homes in order to free up beds and save the service millions of pounds.

According to the Office of National Statistics, 85% of the people who died in hospital in 2013 had expressed a desire to die at home.

Cancer charity Marie Curie predicts that during the course of the next Parliament, around 1.4 million people could die in hospital despite wanting to do so at home.

Marie Curie says the reasons for this include 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 thieir life.

The charity believes the NHS could save millions of pounds at a time when its funding is being cut by allowing patients to die at home as they request, with total care costs being as much as £500 lower per person.

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 overstretched.

"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."