Hospital death ratio varies significantly by area
Published on 04 November 2013 02:30 PM
Latest data suggests there are large variations across England in the number of people who die at hospital or in their own homes.
Official figures show that people are least likely to be in hospital at the end of their lives in Cambridge.
They are most likely to die in hospital at Waltham Forest in north-east London, according to Public Health England (PHE), an agency of the Department of Health.
Just 37.9% of people in Cambridge died in hospital between 2009 and 2011, said the PHE report on end of life care.
However, at the other end of the scale, 69.1% of Waltham Forest residents died in hospital.
Hospital is most common place of death
Hospital is the most common place of death even though most people prefer to die at home, according to the report.
'At the beginning of the 20th century it was common for people to die at home, but as the century progressed the rate of home deaths fell while the rate of hospital deaths increased,' it said.
The report is a valuable tool for healthcare planning, according to Eve Richardson, chief executive of the National Council for Palliative Care and the Dying Matters Coalition.
She said: 'Understanding how and where people die, and the range of services and support available, is essential if we are to ensure compassionate and dignified end of life care is available for us all in the place we want to be, whether that is our own home, care home or supported housing, in a hospice or in hospital.'
She said there remain some 'very real challenges' in ensuring the correct end of life care for all.
Increase in number dying in usual place of residence
The report said the number of people who died in their usual place of residence - be it their home or a care home - increased from 38% on 2008/9 to 44% in 2012.
Professor John Newton, PHE's chief knowledge officer, said: 'Three years ago we knew very little about how and where people died in England.
'The National End of Life Care Intelligence Network has made a huge difference and the new knowledge is being put rapidly into action to enable people to have a better death.'
Copyright Press Association 2013