Our campaign to make social care free at the end of life
We believe everyone should have the right to choose where they die. That's why we are asking government to make free social care available to everyone at the end of life.
What's the issue?
The number of people living with cancer is growing every day. Often, treatment is successful. But for some, this is unfortunately not the case.
We know that most people with cancer at the end of their life want to spend their last weeks and days at home*, in a familiar place surrounded by loved ones. But right now, only 29% of people are able to do so**.
Why is free social care important?
Access to social care helps support people to remain in their own homes at the end of life. This support includes assistance with things like washing or turning someone over in bed - things that people often find invaluable. And yet it’s not available to everyone. If you have savings or property worth more than £23,250, you’ll have to pay for all of your social care if you choose to die at home. For many people, this is simply unaffordable.
Where are we now?
The government in England says it sees 'much merit' in making social care free for everybody at the end of their life. Over the summer of 2012 they offered the chance to feed back on proposals made in the Care and Support White Paper and the draft Care and Support Bill.
More than 7,800 of you backed our response to this by signing our open letter calling for the government to make sure free social care at the end of life remains a priority as it takes forward plans to reform the social care system. You can read our consultation response here [PDF].
An influential committee of MPs and peers published a report on the draft Care and Support Bill in March 2013. It backed the important role social care plays in giving people a choice over where they are cared for and where they die. The committee stated that free social care at the end of life should be introduced 'at the earliest opportunity'.
The Bill, which has now been renamed the Care Bill, is currently progressing through parliament. Macmillan is using this opportunity to work with charity partners to broaden support for free social care at the end of life.
How you can help
You can help us make the case for change. If a loved one struggled to get the social care support they needed to give them choice at the end of life, then your story could help strengthen our campaign. If you’d be willing to share your experiences then contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Philip Gould - When I Die
As former political strategist Philip Gould was dying of oesophageal cancer in Autumn 2011, he shared his thoughts and emotions through video.
*Office for National Statistics. Additional analysis from the National Bereavement Survey (VOICES) 2011. Place of death based on death certificates. Where cause of death was cancer, 59% of bereaved relatives responding to the survey stated that the deceased had named a preferred place of death. Of those who expressed a preference and died in hospital, 65% had wanted to die at home, 11% had wanted to die in a hospice, 15% had wanted to die somewhere else, and 9% had wanted to die in hospital.
** Office for National Statistics. Mortality statistics, deaths registered in 2011 in England.