Bereaved Hoghton parents back bid to let sufferers spend last days in their own bed

Blackburn Citizen: Dorothy and Tony Bonser Dorothy and Tony Bonser

A HOGHTON couple who lost their son to cancer have backed a campaign for more patients to receive end-of-life care at home.

Neil Bonser died of sarcoma cancer in 2009 after spending 10 of his last days in hospital and a leading charity said thousands of dying patients find themselves in a similar situation each year due to a lack of community care.

Speaking on behalf of his wife Dorothy, Tony Bonser, 68, who is also a member of the Dying Matters campaign, said: “Neil had a great fear of hospitals but he spent the last 10 days in one after the sarcoma in his leg spread to his lungs and he became increasingly unwell.

“It was only a day before his death that anyone at the hospital actually asked him what he wanted.

“He told them he wished to be at home and that’s where he died just 24 hours later. Why was it left so late? If we’d been aware that he could have got professional support to spend his last days at home, he would have suffered less distress and the NHS would have saved itself a precious hospital bed.”

Macmillan Cancer Support said the NHS could actually save £69 million a year by boosting community services for terminal cancer patients as hospital care is about double the cost.

It said there were 36,400 cancer patients who died in hospital in 2012, despite saying that they wanted to die at home.

Chief executive Ciarán Devane said: “We urgently need to reform end-of-life services in England. Every day around 100 cancer patients die in expensive hospital beds when they wanted to die at home.

“This is both morally wrong and a scandalous waste of precious NHS resources.

“We want this Government to publicly commit to implementing a system of free social care at the end of the life in England and the next Government to make it a reality.”

Ahead of the general election, Macmillan Cancer Support is calling on political parties to include this commitment in their manifestos.

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