MINISTERS have urged the NHS to fund hospice care to end the "postcode lottery" in end-of-life support.

Independent crossbench peer Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, a doctor and professor of palliative medicine, said the law needs to change to improve access to hospice care.

Debating her Access to Palliative Care and Treatment of Children Bill in the Lords, she called on the Government to show it is "determined to ensure good palliative end-of-life care to everyone, everywhere".

Tory peer and surgeon Lord Ribeiro said the Bill would help to end the "postcode lottery" of hospice provision across the country.

He said: "Hospices in the main are supported by charities and the public, with the NHS providing about a third of cost of adult hospices.

"There are, I believe, 200 hospices in the UK collectively caring for 225,000 people and their families per year - 80% is delivered in the patients' home.

"It is time to provide a comprehensive, nationwide service from which all benefit."

He added: "This Bill will ensure that access to hospice care is not determined by a postcode lottery where some areas are better provided for than others."