When the system fails, which the Kings Fund is warning could happen very soon, will we have to pay for cancer care?
Half of people who have terminal cancer receive no practical help to look after themselves at home, despite the majority qualifying for formal social care on grounds of need.
Macmillan Cancer Support said that of those who admitted they were struggling at home seven out of ten were in hospital for an unplanned stay at least once in their final months of life.
The charity said relatives often had to seek admission to a hospital or a hospice for a dying family member because there was not enough help at home.
Lynda Thomas, of Macmillan, said the research was evidence that end-of-life care was inadequate. “It is simply appalling that people with cancer at the end of life are being made to feel guilty at what is already a very difficult time,” she said.
“Equally, it is just not right for dying people to spend precious time in A&E because support is not there for them at home.”