‘Still too many’ spending final days being rushed to and from hospital, Marie Curie

Thousands of dying people are spending their last days being rushed to and from hospital, figures show.

More than 26,000 people in England had three or more trips to A&E in their final three months in 2017, according to NHS England data.

Terminal illness charity Marie Curie said these unplanned visits place further strain on A&Es, and many could be prevented if patients had access to better care at home and in the community.

The data shows 26,783 people had three or more visits to A&E in their last 90 days in 2017.

This was a drop from 27,549 in 2016 and 33,983 in 2015, but Marie Curie said it was still too many.

Scott Sinclair, head of policy and public affairs at the charity, said: “Imagine spending the final days of your life in and out of hospital emergency wards.

“It’s incredibly distressing for dying people and their families, and it doesn’t have to be this way.

“Tens of thousands of people at the end of life are still going through this every year.

“Urgent action is needed to ensure that all dying people receive the care they need at home or in the community.

“We were pleased that the Government committed to reducing end-of-life emergency admissions as part of the new NHS long-term plan, and look forward to working with local NHS leaders to deliver on this commitment.”

The latest figures from NHS England show A&E waits are at their highest level for 15 years.

During January, 84.4% of patients were treated or admitted within four hours, against a 95% target.

New figures from February are due to be published on Thursday.

On Monday, NHS England announced a series of trials which could mean the end of the four-hour target.

Patients with the most serious conditions such as heart attacks, strokes and sepsis would receive rapid treatment within an hour, while people with more minor conditions could expect to wait longer.

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