Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Sign to ban this scandal now.

The Liverpool Care Pathway, (LCP), is in widespread use in the UK. It is flawed and dangerous. The Daily Telegraph has referred to it as the Death Pathway. There have been calls from victims families to have it banned. The old are particularly vulnerable because many of the so-called signs that are looked for to put a patient on the death pathway, such as frailty and declining mobility, are symptomatic of old-age in any case.

In fact, age is one of the factors also taken into consideration in putting the patient on the LCP! This petition is to call for its withdrawal. Every patient is an individual and deserves that individual consideration of their condition.

As it stands, anyone who falls into the clutches of the proponents of LCP and ticks all the boxes will be given assisted passage into the next world care of the NHS. This will apply particularly to the elderly who are, in any case, already suffering from that most terminal of all conditions - Old-Age! This will apply even contrary to the expressed wishes of patient and family, as this family has discovered.

According to Dr Peter Hargreaves, Consultant in Palliative Medicine, P. H. Millard, Emeritus Professor of Geriatrics University of London and others, in the year 2007-2008 alone, 16.5 per cent of deaths came about after terminal sedation through the, quote, disturbing blanket application of the Liverpool Care Pathway being rolled out across the NHS in the UK.

Currently, an estimated 20,000 patients have their lives taken each year while receiving care under the LCP which also prohibits administering artificial nutrition and hydration to those assessed as dying and states that doing so is ethically indefensible and, in the case of patients lacking capacity, is prohibited under the Mental Health Act.

To my comments that my mothers life was taken at Caterham Dene Hospital where LCP is in use, the NMC responded that I am, quote, at liberty to contact the police.

My mother was robbed of her life through application of the Liverpool Care Pathway. NMC registrants at Caterham Dene Hospital, even by the standards set out by that flawed measure of who is and who is not at Deaths door, were far too zealous in the liberal helpings of morphine they doled out to my mother. The PCT were actually required to set in place new practices at the Dene in regard to analgesics and their use on ward.

Following widespread application of the LCP, relatives of many hospital, nursing home and residential care patients have watched in horror as their loved ones are kept under sedation and food and fluids are withdrawn. Does the NMC therefore assert that, in like fashion, these relatives are, quote, at liberty to contact the police and that this is their advice to them? They make no reply.

The critic of the LCP mentioned above, Peter Millard Emeritus Professor of Geriatrics, warns that there is a risk that elderly people with chronic conditions and disorders may be easily dismissed as dying when that may not, indeed, be the case. Certain media have even compared the LCP with euthanasia. Euthanasia is still against the law in this land. Perhaps, then, the advice of the NMC does stand in good stead and these relatives should be, quote, at liberty to contact the police. And is that their advice to them? The NMC makes no reply.

The Liverpool Care Pathway was a tool designed to be used with patients already diagnosed to be terminally ill; it was never a diagnostic tool per se to determine a terminal condition. It was designed at the Marie Curie Hospice in Liverpool specifically for the terminally diagnosed patient and to recognise when a point had been reached that death was near or imminent so as to provide as peaceful and gentle path from this world as might be provided. These patients were already diagnosed to be dying from cancer; the Pathway was not the tool used to make that diagnosis, but a means - a 'pathway' to follow - to determine that point.

A culture of death is pervading the NHS in the UK. A dark shadow is stalking our hospitals and care homes. The right to death is becoming paramount over the right to life. The LCP is providing a newfound legitimacy and cover to an unspoken policy that has, actually, been in place for decades! Will the NMC, if it will do nothing more, not add its voice to that of Dr. Peter Hargreaves and others and raise a hue and cry to get this Care Pathway rolled back and removed? Will the Care Quality Commission, the new body set in place to investigate such matters not step in?

The NMC have stated that any further correspondence will be filed, but not answered. Then, let it go on record that the NMC were asked to add their voice to denounce this scandal and declined to do so. Posterity will look back in anger and horror!

An afterword:

The Department of Health committed to investing 286 million pounds over the two years to 2011 to support implementation of this End of Life Care Strategy. That is 286 million pounds spent to assist people on their path to the next world while denying the necessary funding to keep them alive and well in this!

A Daily Mail on-line article outlines how we in the UK have the worst cancer survival rate in the western world. Doctors in our local surgeries, hospitals and health care centres are providing us with treatments based on our illness, our age, our families. The Daily Mail article explains how doctors tend to late-diagnose older patients or provide them with less beneficial treatments. The elderly are routinely denied surgery or drugs.

It is a duty incumbent upon every medical person to protect life and to do no harm. And yet, through the LCP, there is a policy set in place at Caterham Dene - and across the NHS - to make no great effort to intervene to preserve life, to let them go and even to help them on their way.

So much of the public purse to spend on death, so little to spend on life. There is something very wrong here. The elderly, suffering from the most terminal of all illnesses - OLD-AGE - are on the sharp end of this cutting-edge of end-of-life policies. A culture of death really is pervading the NHS in the UK. A dark shadow is stalking our hospitals and care homes. The right to death is becoming paramount over the right to life!

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