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Independent review of Liverpool Care Pathway gets underway

Appointment of chair starts the review of the pathway for patients nearing the end of their lives

Ingrid Torjesen

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

The independent review looking at how the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) is being used in practice will be chaired by crossbench peer Baroness Julia Neuberger, Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb announced today.

The review of the pathway which has been branded euthanasia by the back door by some newspapers was announced last year but put on hold until an independent chair was appointed.

Julia Neuberger, who is Senior Rabbi at the West London Synagogue and former chief executive of the King’s Fund has agreed to oversee the review, which will be examining various elements of the LCP, including: the experience and opinions of patients, families and health professionals; hospital complaints; local payments made to hospitals in respect of the LCP; and the evidence base about benefits and limitations of the pathway.

The review panel will hold a number of evidence sessions, invite written submissions, as well as hosting a session dedicated exclusively to hearing personal stories from families.

Following this work, the review will make recommendations about what, if any, changes are needed to improve care, to ensure that patients are always treated with dignity and that, wherever possible, they are involved in decisions about their care, and that carers and families are always involved in the decision-making process.

Mr Lamb said: “Everyone wants their loved ones' final hours to be as pain free and dignified as possible. Experts agree the Liverpool Care Pathway, if applied properly, can play a vital role in achieving this aim, but, as we have seen, there have been too many cases where patients or their families were ignored or not properly involved in decisions. This is simply unacceptable.” 

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