§ Mr. Ashton
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate he has made of the average number of terminally ill patients in the United Kingdom; 
(2) what is the average monthly total of patient deaths in hospices; 
(3) how many hospice beds for terminally ill patients are available in the United Kingdom; 
(4) what is the average monthly total of deaths of patients on palliative care. 
§ Mr. Boateng
The National Council for Hospice and Specialist Palliative Care Services defines as terminally ill those people183Wwith active and progressive disease for which curative treatment is not possible or not appropriate and from which death can reasonably be expected within twelve months".
"Ordinary and day case admissions for England" and "Outpatients and ward attenders for England" contain data on Finished Consultant Episodes and Outpatient Attendances under the main specialty function of Palliative medicine. Copies are available in the Library. These data do not include all terminally ill patients as some of these patients may be receiving treatment in a variety of settings, including the voluntary sector, and information is not collected centrally on the number of patients who are terminally ill at any one time.
There are about 60,000 admissions to hospices and palliative care units in the United Kingdom every year. There are approximately 29,000 deaths in hospice and palliative care units (both voluntary sector and NHS), giving an approximate monthly figure of 2,500 deaths. (Data provided by the Hospice Information Service). Whilst it is possible to give figures for the number of in-patient deaths in the NHS under the care of a palliative care specialist, many other patients who die under the care of the NHS will have received some palliative care. The palliative care approach should inform the care of all NHS patients. The following table shows the number of deaths for patients receiving treatment from a consultant in palliative medicine in the NHS.
Main specialty—Palliative medicine: Estimated number of episodes ending in death (discharge method = 4) by month of admission, NHS hospitals, England 1994–95 1995–961 April 212 241 May 219 279 June 226 259 July 161 247 August 205 279 September 228 279 October 188 273 November 212 275 December 237 298 January 256 303 February 196 268 March 218 273 Total 2,559 3,274
1These figures are provisional.
Data in this table are grossed for coverage.
Department of Health, Hospital Episode Statistics (HES).
According to information from the Hospice Information Service there were 3,134 hospice and palliative care beds (both NHS and voluntary sector) in the United Kingdom in January 1997, of these 595 were in NHS managed units.