85% of NHS trusts adopt controversial end-of-life care regime
Figures released under the Freedom of Information act have revealed that 85% of NHS trusts have adopted a controversial end-of-life care regime. This can involve limiting food and water from patients who are terminally ill.
85% of the 72 NHS trusts in the UK have implemented the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP), a programme described by the NHS as “delivering palliative care to people with a terminal illness” in order to “ensure a peaceful and comfortable death”.
The LCP is supported by leading cancer charity Marie Curie Cancer Care to help meet the wishes of terminally ill patients.
However, accounts have recently emerged criticising the LCP. Some claims have likened the practice to torture, detailing the withdrawal of food and water in order to speed up death. Other cases claim that patients were placed on the list without the knowledge and consent of their next of kin.
Further disturbing comments have implied that the end-of-life care regime has been created to help reduce hospital costs. Two-third of trusts that use the LCP have accepted cash payment for meeting targets set.
Conservative peer Lady Knight has called for an independent inquiry into the findings.
Meanwhile, the Health Minister Norman Lamb has called for a meeting between doctors and their patients to talk about concerns over what is going on at the Liverpool Care Pathway.
He said: “Payments have been made to encourage and ensure that patients and their loved ones are involved in the critical discussions that take place at the end of life. If that is the result of the system, then that seems to me to be a good outcome.”