More than 4,000 sick, elderly or disabled adults have died waiting for NHS Continuing Healthcare since 2015, new figures reveal.
This means that at least 1,000 adults have died every year while waiting for decisions for healthcare outside hospital, either in their home or a care home.
Continuing Healthcare services for adults are funded by the NHS instead of the local council.
The data, obtained by Barbara Keeley MP for the Daily Express, comes from health authorities responding to a Freedom of Information request.
But of the 164 health authorities that responded, only 79 gave information covering at least year, meaning the true figure is likely to be higher.
The Express found people with terminal and debilitating illnesses, such as Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s waiting months or years for decisions to be made about Continuing Healthcare funding.
Keeley, who is the Shadow Cabinet Minister for Mental Health and Social Care, said: “It is shameful people with some of the most urgent care needs are dying before they get the support they need.”
NHS England data demonstrates a postcode lottery of care, with people living in the North West, North East and Yorkshire more likely to receive NHS Continuing Healthcare than those in the South East and London.
Luton accepted 11 cases per 50,000 of the population in the last three months, compared to 213 per 50,000 population in Salford.
Lisa Morgan, a solicitor from Hugh James which specialises in legal cases against local health authority nursing care funding decisions – told the Daily Express: “These variations are too great to be put down to differences in population and result in a great unfairness for people who are paying for care when they should not be.”