Too many people are being denied their wish to die at home or a hospice

TOO many people are dying on trolleys and cubicles in hospitals while waiting to be transferred to a ward or back home, a report into end of life care in the East Riding has found.

Although the vast majority of people want to die at home or a hospice, only one in five do so. Nearly 60 per cent die in hospital, although most people say it is their least preferred place to die.

A review panel, made up of East Riding councillors, heard “time and time again” of “serious issues” with the out of hours GP service, which has just two GPs and two “contract practitioners” for a population of 300,000 people spread over more than 900 square miles.

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They also backed plans for a hospice at Alfred Bean Hospital, in Driffield, by the charity Sue Ryder and expressed disappointment it had been rejected by the East Riding CCG.

They said: “Members simply did not agree with the commissioners’ assertion that there was insufficient demand for hospice provision in the East Riding. If patients had the option... it would help prevent unacceptable admissions to A&E.”

The report found that when people got into distress after 11pm and the out of hours service was called, doctors were not available and ambulances had to be called.

It was a “sad fact” but people died in hospital “bottlenecks”, adding: “for a patient and their family to find themselves there at the end of life is particularly distressing, particularly if it results in a patient dying on a trolley or in a cubicle.”

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Some extra overnight nursing had been introduced since the panel started work two years ago, but the panel’s chair Coun Brian Jefferies said overnight GP cover was still “extremely thin”.

The report makes 23 recommendations including training GPs and care home staff. East Riding CCG said people should have care plans expressing their wishes, which would help avoid unplanned hospital admissions and they could access specialist nursing. They said there were palliative care beds at two community hospitals already and the majority of hospices were developing “at home” services as an “increasing majority” wanted to die at home.