To the Secretary of State for Health – Steve Barclay MP.
In 2014, following reports of the staggering number of premature and inappropriate deaths that resulted from the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP), which had been developed to ensure compassionate care for those at the end of life, the Pathway was supposedly scrapped.
Almost a decade later, the problems persist.
A new Report by the Lords and Commons Family and Child Protection Group, published by Voice for Justice UK, When End of Life Care Goes Wrong, provides shocking evidence of misdiagnoses, and mis-assessments as to quality of life, combined with what appears a total failure to appreciate the respect and care that should be accorded those at the end of life, all too often resulting not in care, but in ‘managed death’.
Excessive and inappropriate use of Midazolam and Morphine, rendering a patient comatose, cessation of drugs, and the withdrawal of food and hydration, all combine to impose a death sentence which, in the current climate, it is effectively impossible to challenge.
Growing numbers of bereaved relatives, angered at the mistreatment received by their loved ones, are however trying to do exactly that. They complain that end of life care has become a tick-box exercise – a kind of multiple-choice test that determines whether or not the patient be allowed to live, with a pass or fail mark, and no chance of a resit or right of appeal.
This abuse must end. We call for proper scrutiny and regulation of all healthcare settings, with mandated inspection and oversight to ensure compliance with NICE guidelines for compassionate and appropriate end of life care. We call for a national inventory of healthcare providers, and for better regulation that genuinely respects patient preference for the care and treatment they receive. And we demand that the right of all patients to food – if they are able, with help, to consume it – and hydration be respected.
We call on His Majesty’s Government to initiate an urgent Inquiry into the treatment of those at the end of life, and to take action to end the abuse.