Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Death pathway to go

The Liverpool Care Pathway is to be scrapped by the NHS, it was announced yesterday.

Stories in the media of patients being appallingly treated led to an independent review. The review heard allegations of patients placed on the pathway without relatives' knowledge, being unnecessarily sedated and being denied food and water.

The pathway will be phased out in the next few months and individual care packages introduced, approved by senior clinicians.

The LCP was largely the responsibility of Professor John Ellershaw, medical director of the Marie Curie Hospice in Liverpool and clinical director of palliative care at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, a man with a genuine concern for excellent care for the dying. The LCP, carefully used, can be of help where the patient is properly monitored.

But who in the world authorised the LCP to be rolled out across the NHS, where it can be so easily abused? And who thought up the idea of paying bonuses for the number of patients placed on the pathway?

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