Friday, 17 May 2013

Liverpool Care Pathway - Closer To The Brink Than You Think

We are at the very brink. The time for tough talking is here. The State has decreed that the elderly are a financial burden we can no longer afford.

It's time for tough talking and plain speaking.

The elderly are singled out for mention...

The frail, the fragile, the weak, the vulnerable, those limited in capacity of mind or limb: all are now at risk. These are a luxury the State can no longer afford.

They can no longer afford you; you are a burden too much to bear...

Can that be?

The pressure is on.

The alarm bells have been ringing for a long time -

Are we killing our elderly?

Care of Britain’s elderly is under intense scrutiny, with a number of reports in recent days highlighting the risks and suffering of patients at the hands of the NHS or family members. 

Some experts in care for the terminally ill claim new NHS guidance on the treatment of dying patients means some could be given sedation to help them pass away, masking any improvement in their condition.

Earlier, Britain’s most senior policewoman warned relaxation of assisted suicide laws could be exploited by families to kill burdensome elderly relatives. Barbara Wilding says a growing rift between young and old generations, combined with the pressures of an ageing population, is a significant challenge for police.

Last week the Patients Association published personal accounts from hundreds of relatives of patients, most of whom died, following their care in NHS hospitals. It said one million NHS patients had been the victim of “neglectful, demeaning, painful and sometimes cruel” treatment over the past six years.
- The Telegraph [Alastair Jamieson]

The Hell Hole is opening up before us.

THE leader of Scotland's doctors has questioned whether society can afford to pay thousands of pounds to keep terminally-ill people alive for weeks or months when health service budgets are under unprecedented strain.

Dr Brian Keighley, chairman of the British Medical Association Scotland, said in some cases tens of thousands of pounds were spent on drugs to extend cancer patients' lives for relatively short periods.

Speaking ahead of his organisation's annual meeting, the GP said the country had to debate the merits of these kinds of aggressive treatments and the effects they had on the NHS budget. But he stressed any decision had to be made at a society level, rather than being left to doctors.

Patient groups are concerned that many cancer treatments are being rationed by the NHS because they are deemed too expensive.

While the NHS budget for Scotland rose slightly this year, the increasing cost of energy, food and drugs has meant health boards are having to make efficiency savings just to stand still. In many cases this has included recruitment freezes and a reduction in the NHS workforce of more than 3,000 in the past year.

Keighley said the Scottish Government was facing a "budgetary cliff edge" amid concerns about the negative effect of cuts. But he said there were areas where wider debate was needed to decide if Scotland could still afford to pay for services where good outcomes were limited.

- The Scotsman

Now, Mr. Lamb is openly saying it -

- Mail Online

What awaits us in old age? Well, the triumph of actually reaching old age for a start — not a privilege offered to all. Yet if one was to look on the downside, the scenario that looms large gets bleaker with each passing year — and economic crisis.

Dwindling pensions, soaring fuel bills, children who plot to murder us in our sleep, doctors who don’t care if we live or die?

The twilight years might be preferable to the cold alternative, but the prospect of facing them is ever grimmer. Particularly if those years are to be accompanied by new social pressures to do the decent thing and kill ourselves the second we become a burden to our nearest and dearest.
JAN MOIR [Mail Online]

Whatever is your belief, it is true to say that how you view the person affects how you treat the person.

How will that translate to how the elderly are treated?

The frail, the fragile, the weak, the vulnerable, those limited in capacity of mind or limb: all are at risk.

Society is at risk. How will this translate to how we conduct ourselves and our affairs? 

We stand at a moral crossroads we have stood at before. Can we afford to take one step once more along the wrong path?

We have already taken that step...

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