New end-of-life care to be put in place

  • It is expected that the government will announce a new coalition on end-of-life care due to its removal of the Liverpool Care pathway (LCP) last month.

    The Leadership Alliance for the Care of Dying People will bring together health and social care groups so that care is improved for people who are nearing the end of their lives.

    In a statement, NHS England said the independent review had called for a coalition "to lead the way in creating and delivering the knowledge base, the education, training and skills and the long-term commitment needed to make high-quality care for dying patients a reality, not just an ambition".

    The new alliance will be chaired by Dr Bee Wee, national clinical director for end of life care at NHS England. It will give guidance on what needs to be put in place of the LCP whilst also working with end-of-life healthcare professionals, patients and their families.

    These new plans have been put in place after an independent review came to the conclusion that doctors had used the LCP "as an excuse for poor-quality care". This is due to the LCP recommending doctors withdraw treatment food and water from some sedated patients in their final days and hours.

    Chair of the review panel, Lady Neuberger, said that they were shocked and upset at some of the "distressing" cases of poor care. The found that patients were left on the pathway for weeks with no reviews and numerous patients' families were shouted at by nurses for giving the patient water.  

    "The same stories keep emerging of poor care, appalling communications and of a lack of attention or compassion," said Neuberger.

    In response to these claims the care and support minister, Norman Lamb, ordered all NHS hospitals to undertake reviews of care given to their dying patients. He also told hospital bosses that they had to ensure that all future patients had a named senior clinician responsible for their care in their final days and hours of live.

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