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Petitioning Prime Minster of the United Kingdom Rt Hon David Cameron MP

Ban the Death Pathways

Liverpool Care Pathway: A National Scandal

The Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) is flawed and dangerous. It was subject to a Review which, ostensibly, ordered it be withdrawn. It was not. It continues, in spirit and in form, under different names and guises.

The Daily Telegraph referred to it as the Death Pathway. The old are particularly vulnerable because many of the so-called signs that are looked for to put a patient on the death pathway, such as frailty and declining mobility, are symptomatic of old-age in any case. In fact, age is one of the factors also taken into consideration in putting the patient on the LCP! This petition is to call for its withdrawal in all its forms and guises. Every patient is an individual and deserves that individual consideration of their condition.

As it stands, anyone who falls into the clutches of the proponents of LCP and ticks all the boxes will be given assisted passage into the next world care of the NHS. This will apply particularly to the elderly who are, in any case, already suffering from that most terminal of all conditions - Old-Age!

According to Dr Peter Hargreaves, Consultant in Palliative Medicine, P. H. Millard, Emeritus Professor of Geriatrics University of London and others, in the year 2007-2008 alone, 16.5 per cent of deaths came about after terminal sedation through the blanket application of the Liverpool Care Pathway being rolled out across the NHS in the UK.

My mother was robbed of her life at Caterham Dene Hospital. The PCT were actually required to set in place new practices at the Dene in regard to analgesics and their use on ward.

Peter Millard Emeritus Professor of Geriatrics, warns that there is a risk that elderly people with chronic conditions and disorders may be easily dismissed as dying when that may not, indeed, be the case. Certain media have even compared the LCP with euthanasia. Euthanasia is still against the law in this land.

A culture of death is pervading the NHS in the UK. A dark shadow is stalking our hospitals and care homes. The right to death is becoming paramount over the right to life. The LCP is providing a newfound legitimacy and cover to an unspoken policy that has, actually, been in place for decades!
Outline of a script for a Monty Python sketch –

Scene: An elderly woman lies in her hospital bed. An EoLC nurse is talking to two young women, the elderly woman’s granddaughters. He is telling them their grandmother is dying and discussing the funeral arrangements. He is delicately asking them to consider how they are going to break the news to their daughters. The two young women are in distress, in denial. This cannot be… A voice intervenes: “Ooh, aren’t you lovely?” The elderly woman continues: “You’ve got lovely eyes.” She is flirting with the EoLC nurse.

Of course, this could not really happen. It’s surreal. It’s on a par with the ‘Parrot’ sketch.
But it did happen. The elderly lady, Kathleen Vine, is pictured here with her granddaughters, Helen and Alison, on BBC News Health –

It is surreal. It is bizarre. It happened.

If Kathleen had not woken when she did, she would have perished on the EoLC Pathway. She would have died, but that's okay because that is what they diagnosed would happen and that is what people tend to do on these EoLC Pathways. They die.

She would have died, but she was not dying. It would have been murder. They would have got away with murder. The perfect crime. What did happen, though, is surely an act of attempted murder...?

An afterword:
The Department of Health committed to investing 286 million pounds over the two years to 2011 to support implementation of this End of Life Care Strategy. That is 286 million pounds spent to assist people on their path to the next world while denying the necessary funding to keep them alive and well in this!
A Daily Mail on-line article outlines how we in the UK have the worst cancer survival rate in the western world. Doctors in our local surgeries, hospitals and health care centres are providing us with treatments based on our illness, our age, our families. The Daily Mail article explains how doctors tend to late-diagnose older patients or provide them with less beneficial treatments. The elderly are routinely denied surgery or drugs.

It is a duty incumbent upon every medical person to protect life and to do no harm. And yet, through the LCP, there is a policy set in place at Caterham Dene - and across the NHS - to make no great effort to intervene to preserve life, to let them go and even to help them on their way.

So much of the public purse to spend on death, so little to spend on life. There is something very wrong here. The elderly, suffering from the most terminal of all illnesses - OLD-AGE - are on the sharp end of this cutting-edge of end-of-life policies. A culture of death really is pervading the NHS in the UK. A dark shadow is stalking our hospitals and care homes. The right to death is becoming paramount over the right to life!

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