Actor backs cancer care campaign

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Actor Hugh Grant has given his backing to a campaign by a leading charity to increase choice in end of life care.







The star said his mother was cared for at home by a Marie Curie cancer nurse in the last stages of her illness.



"This is about the precious last few days, hours of someone's life," he said.



"My own mother died of cancer and was cared for by Marie Curie nurses - she was allowed to die peacefully surrounded by her family after receiving the very best attention from those helping us to support her.



"Everyone should have that choice."



His remarks came as Marie Curie Cancer Care warned that plans to extend a pioneering nursing scheme to help more terminally ill people die at home are at risk because of a lack of funding.



The charity has said £6m over the next three years would allow it to extend a project called the delivering choice programme over England.



The warning comes as the charity published the results of a YouGov survey suggesting that around two thirds of people (65 per cent) would want to be cared for at home if they were terminally ill.



But only 14 per cent of these believed home would be where they would get the care they needed.



The delivering choice programme started in Boston, Lincolnshire, and also has six other projects under way in Barnet, north London, Leeds, Tayside in Scotland, south east London, Somerset and Tyneside.



Thomas Hughes-Hallett, Marie Curie Cancer Care chief executive, said: "When all the elements of delivering choice are in place patients and their loved ones benefit from the care and support they need in familiar and comfortable surroundings.



"The programme gives patients what they want - to die at home - and does not cost any more, if anything it costs less.



"I would hope that with such a clear cut case for the roll out of the programme we can find a way for government to invest in end of life care and honour the wishes of those who want to spend their final days at home."



Care services minister Ivan Lewis said: "Ultimately, it is for the local NHS to commission the right services for their local populations, but I have written to all strategic health authorities urging them to establish "flagship" programmes such as rapid response services and co-ordination centres within their areas, in partnership with Marie Curie.



"The need to raise public awareness about end of life care has been a key issue in the development of the end of life care strategy.



"People need to know how what services are available to them and are entitled to information on how to access them."

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