The Guardian reports today that the Government has pledged to set up an independent review of the Liverpool Care Pathway for dying patients, after allegations from opponents that elderly people have been put on the palliative care regime without their consent or their families’ knowledge.
Norman Lamb, the minister of state for care services, made the announcement after meeting medical experts and critics of the LCP. The pathway is intended to help terminally-ill patients into a calm, comfortable death in the place of their choosing. There have been claims that elderly patients have been refused food and water to speed up death and that neither they, nor relatives have been told doctors consider their case to be terminal. Hospitals are said to have received extra local incentive payments for increasing the number of patients on the pathway.
Meanwhile the Daily Mail warns that a winter vomiting outbreak is sweeping Britain.
According to Health Protection Agency figures cases of the bug have surged to a five-year high and the health service has reported outbreaks at dozens of hospitals.
It says that front-line health workers are being struck down by the virus, leaving the NHS badly under-staffed.
And finally the Daily Telegraph quotes backbench Tory MP Dr Phillip Lee who says that access to free medicines on the NHS will need to be limited because 21st century Britons are unwilling to put up with aches and pains in the way that the generation of wartime survivors did.
A Thames Valley GP, Dr Lee said that the majority of patients for whom medication is prescribed are suffering from conditions which are predominantly to do with lifestyle. He added that some must learn to live healthier lives or help meet the cost of their care from their own pockets.