Terminally ill people are suffering needlessly uncomfortable and distressing deaths, a report by Help the Hospices has claimed.

The charity said there was also inadequate support for the families of those who are terminally ill.

The report identifies major flaws in the planning and information used for commissioning and reporting on end-of-life care services.

These include few people achieving choice about where they die, failings in the training of healthcare professionals, poor service integration and inadequate and under-protected funding.

Help the Hospices hopes the report will inform the government's proposed end-of-life care strategy for England, led by Department of Health national cancer director Mike Richards, which is expected to be launched this autumn.

The report recommends primary care trusts should be clear and transparent about services commissioned from local providers and the price paid for them. They should also work with other organisations to analyse local needs in order to develop integrated approaches to co-ordinated end-of-life care.