There are “large variations” across England in the proportion of people who die at hospital or in their own homes, figures show.

People are least likely to be in hospital at the end of their lives Cambridge and most likely to die in hospital in Waltham Forest, north east London, Public Health England said.

In Cambridge just 37.9 per cent of people died in hospital between 2009 and 2011, the PHE report on end of life care found.

At the other end of the scale 69.1 per cent of Waltham Forest residents died in hospital.

The report notes that most people prefer to die at home but hospital is the most common place of death.

It says: “At the beginning of the 20th century it was common for people to die at home, but as the century progressed the rate of home deaths fell while the rate of hospital deaths increased.”

The PHE report did find that over the last four years, the number of people who have died in their usual place of residence - be it their home or a care home - has steadily increased.

In 2008-9, 38 per cent of deaths in England were in the person’s home or care home and the figure rose to 44 per cent in 2012, according to the report.

This suggests that 24,000 more people died in a familiar setting last year compared to four years ago.

Professor John Newton, chief knowledge officer at Public Health England, said: “Three years ago we knew very little about how and where people died in England. The National End of Life Care Intelligence Network has made a huge difference and the new knowledge is being put rapidly into action to enable people to have a better death.”

Eve Richardson, chief executive of the National Council for Palliative Care and the Dying Matters Coalition, said: “Understanding how and where people die, and the range of services and support available, is essential if we are to ensure compassionate and dignified end of life care is available for us all in the place we want to be, whether that is our own home, care home or supported housing, in a hospice or in hospital.

“Although very welcome improvements in end of life care continue to be made, there remain some very real challenges, especially in ensuring that all people, whoever they are, whatever their needs and wherever they live, are able to get the end of life care that is right for them.”

Imelda Redmond, Marie Curie’s director of policy and public affairs, said: “We need to pick up the pace of change if we want to be able to respond to the huge increase in the care needs of terminally ill people.

“We’re about to see the sharpest rise in the number of people dying, with annual deaths set to increase by 17 per cent by 2030 to almost 590,000 deaths per year.

“Currently, our research shows that 63 per cent want to be cared for and die at home, yet only 44 per cent, including those in care homes, do. This is because not enough or the right type of health and social care is available.”