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90% of specialists would put themselves on Liverpool Care Pathway



Nine out of ten doctors have said they would personally choose to go on the Liverpool Care Pathway at the end of their lives, a BMJ survey of palliative care doctors has shown.

Around 89% of the 563 senior palliative care doctors questioned by the BMJ and Channel 4’s Dispatches programme said they would use the controversial treatment programme themselves.

The pathway has been recommended by NICE and the Department of Health as the best practice model for end-of-life care, and it is designed to improve the care of the patient in the last hours or days of life.

However, there has been criticised after accounts of patients having food and fluids withdrawn and the use of financial incentives.

The Government launched a independent review into the use of the palliative care pathway, after allegations patients were being put on it without their consent or their families’ knowledge.

Three-quarters of respondents – 74% – said that recent criticism in the media and elsewhere has led to less use of the LCP.

But overall, 91% thought that the pathway represented best practice for care of the dying patient. If used properly, 98% thought it allowed patients to die with dignity, with only two respondents disagreeing.

The full results are published on bmj.com today and are due to be aired on Channel 4 Dispatches on Monday.

Pulse Live: 30 April – 1 May, Birmingham

Pulse Live

Professor Keri Thomas, a GP with a special interest in palliative care, will be holding a workshop on three areas GPs need to get right on end-of-life care at Pulse Live, Pulse’s new two-day annual conference for GPs, practice managers and primary care managers.

Pulse Live offers practical advice on key clinical and practice business topics, as well as an opportunity to debate the future of the profession, and a top range of speakers includes NICE chair designate Professor David Haslam, GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey and the Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell MP, chair of the House of Commons health committee.

To find out more and book your place, please click here.