April 12 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


UK Government’s end-of-life care rule change welcomed

Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth has welcomed news that the UK Government has revised its rules on end-of-life care, and set up a review of the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP)—a program that coordinates palliative services for those in the final hours and days of life.

“The Liverpool Care Pathway is a process, a set of protocols to care for the dying in our hospitals, particularly in the National Health Service and in care homes,” he said. “But it’s been, in the last, well really in the last 18 months a lot of controversy regarding it.”

The bishop said while it was ‘good to have care of the dying conducted in this way in our hospitals’ he still had reservations about some aspects of the program. In particular he was concerned about the government offering financial ‘incentives’ to place people on the Liverpool Care Pathway. He said he was ‘delighted’ with the government’s decision to stop those payments.

He spoke about some of the other issues with the programme.

“One of my other concerns has been that sometimes relatives of terminally ill patients haven’t been fully involved in the decision making process and the care, the medical care and also of course the spiritual care that needs to go with that, particularly for Catholic patients,” he said. “A few months ago, the government here implemented a review of the Liverpool Care Pathway, and I think this is one of the concerns that they seem to acknowledge and seem to be involved in.”

Bishop Egan (above) also spoke about how the determination was made that someone was near death. However, the bishop only had good things to say about caregivers involved in the programme.

“I think our hospitals, our medical staff, and those who care for the sick and the dying do an absolutely magnificent job,” he said.


—This story was published in full in the April 12 print edition of the SCO.


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