A £250k cash boost will help people die at home, rather than the hospital.

The money will be spent on hiring extra carers able to help care for terminally ill people at home.

Great Western Hospital chiefs say the project could start to address the comparatively high proportion of people who die in a Swindon hospital bed, rather than their own home. In Swindon, around 70 per cent of people died in hospital – with the situation reversed in Wiltshire.

Kevin McNamara, GWH’s director of strategy, told hospital directors last week that Swindon NHS Clinical Commissioning Group had agreed to fund a quarter-of-a-million pound project to trial an end of life rapid response service.

It is hoped extra carers can be hired by April. The staff will be able to complete the checks needed to get terminally-ill patients out of hospital, so they can die in their own home or a care home. Currently, GWH patients have to wait in hospital while the paperwork is completed.

“Rather than patients being in hospitals and fast-track referrals having to happen in hospital whilst they are waiting here, they will be discharged home or to their usual place of residence,” Mr McNamara said.

“Supported by our community teams and healthcare assistants, we can do all those assessments at home. There’s less time wasted in hospital.”

Patients should see the benefits from the project, he added. And by reducing the number of people waiting in hospital unnecessarily, it could also address waiting times linked to bed-blocking.

The £250,000 pilot is part of a much bigger project by Swindon CCG, Great Western Hospital and Prospect Hospice to improve end of life care in the town.

Dr Guy Rooney, GWH medical director, said: “One of the things we have been working on for the last year with the CCG, borough and our partners is a new end of life pathway to really make sure that where people do want to die, they are supported in that.”

Among the initiatives are a shared care record and IT system for terminally ill patients.

Branding the shared IT system excellent, Dr Rooney said: “Everyone’s speaking the same language.”

Last year, Gill May, executive nurse at Swindon CCG, said improvements to end of life care in the town could save the NHS more than £780,000

Ms May said the system was currently confused and doctors were not “proactively discussing dying” with patients and their families.

Every year, 1,590 people in Swindon are predicted to need end of life or specialist palliative care. This is set to increase, by 2020 rising to 1,685.

For a fifth of those who die at GWH it is not known where the patient would have rather died, the CCG said.