Laura Sharman 21 March 2018

‘Unnecessary’ hospital admissions for terminally ill cost NHS £2.5bn

There were over 1.6 million emergency hospital admissions for people in their last year of life during 2016 costing the NHS £2.5bn, a charity has warned today.

New data collected by Marie Curie also suggests that the cost of emergency admissions for terminally ill patients could cost the NHS an extra £2bn and up to 8,000 extra hospital beds by 2038.

Simon Jones, director of policy and public affairs at Marie Curie, said: ‘Unnecessary hospital admissions are a huge cost to the NHS and as the number of people dying each year is set to increase significantly, we need to address the provision of care now in order to avoid further crisis.’

He added: ‘While some emergency hospital admissions for people living with a terminal illness are appropriate and necessary, many are not and can often be avoided entirely if appropriate care in the community is provided.’

Research by the Nuffield Trust has shown that hospital costs are by far the largest cost involved in end of life care.

In response, cllr Izzi Seccombe chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: 'Councils are working closely with the NHS to avoid unnecessary admissions to hospital through better self-management of conditions, better community support and better advice and information.

'However, due to historic underfunding, the adult social care system is under significant pressure and community based services are being reduced, which is impacting on inpatient services.

'The Government needs to provide urgent funding to councils to invest in prevention measures, which will help prevent hospital admissions in the first place.'

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