Monday, 1 August 2011

Liverpool Care Pathway - The Emperor’s New Clothes

Please: what is going on? A culture of death is spreading like a vile plague through our hospitals and it is met with a quiet acceptance. Like the Emperor’s new clothes, no-one will risk their reputation to speak up and speak out, to question it and hold it to account.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC), the new watchdog body which has succeeded the defunct Healthcare Commission, will not be looking into the matter of the LCP at this time. We are informed that this is because its resources are limited and it is, thus, constrained in what it is and what it is not able to undertake for investigation. In the plight of such circumstances, formulating and following a co-ordinated strategy of investigation in order to better utilise the frugal funds available should be the focus, therefore. Not so.

Instead, the leading lights of the CQC are each pursuing their own 'pet projects' for investigation and the LCP, at present, is not one of them.

As one of these ‘pet’ projects, the CQC has been looking into the neglect of the elderly. At a quarter of hospitals inspected, the Commission found problems with dehydrated elderly patients being prescribed water and others left without being fed.

Patients ‘selected’ to die under the LCP are also dehydrated to death. Food and fluids are withdrawn.

What is going on?

It is imperative that, as a co-ordinated policy in conjunction with its investigations of elder abuse, the CQC should, right here and now, look into End-of-Life care pathways such as The Liverpool Care Pathway!


The chief NHS regulator has apologised for missing clues to appalling levels of care at Stafford Hospital that developed into the worst health service scandal for a decade. (The Independent Health News)

Cynthia Bower, chief executive of the Care Quality Commission (CQC), said that the West Midlands Strategic Health Authority, which she had headed between 2006 and 2008, had missed warning signs such as complaints from patients about the treatment they received.

The fact is that complaints are routinely treated as frivolous and groundless. The complaints process is ever an endless and arduous journey that few are stalwart enough to withstand and endure to the finish and beyond.

This family has felt itself being ground into submission. And that is what this so-called ‘complaints process’ is really all about: that, somewhere, somewhen down the line, we will quietly go away!

The fact is that, everywhere, we encountered deviousness and artifice in our dealings with those to whom we petitioned in this so-called ‘complaints process’ we must follow to obtain information and resolution to our concerns. What did not begin as a complaint became one in our quest for the truth.

Our experience in this interminable maze of a complaints process was that there is a system in place that sets out to cover the tracks of the wrongdoer at every twist and turn. It is no great wonder to us at all that there are people like Shipman who can, quite literally, get away with murder. Were Dr Shipman’s misdemeanours also raised by family, relatives, friends, and were their concerns also dismissed in like frivolous fashion by PCT and Healthcare Commission alike? Our own experience would suggest this to be the case.

This dalliance, deviousness and artifice persisted even with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). The NMC had this case for over a year. It is almost as if the NMC exists not to root out the bad crop but, rather, to cover up their misdeeds. That is a disservice to a proud profession and a kick in the teeth for (even though it flies in the face of our own personal experience to say it) the conscientious and caring people on their register.

On 20th May of this year, we asked:
Please: What is going on?

The NMC will not discipline its registrants where it is considered that they have acted according to policy.

We are not empowered to undertake a general investigation into the performance or conduct of unnamed individuals at a particular institution or organisation where it is said that there have been general failings on the part of that institution or organisation or its staff in general.

What occurred at Caterham Dene was a catalogue of catastrophic events acted out beneath the umbrella of what we suspected to be a tacit policy but which, as it turned out, was a publicly lauded Pathway of Death! So, why was this concealed from us for almost four years?

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