May 21, 2024

UK healthcare groups release statement on Liverpool Care Pathway

Liverpool Care Pathway has the confidence of 22 healthcare groups.

From across the Atlantic, foes of euthanasia are fond of lobbing hand grenades at the Liverpool Care Pathway. This is a protocol for medical staff in hospitals of Britain’s National Health Service for caring for dying patients. A conservative American website, for instance, describes it as “a roach-motel for patients deemed to have a terminal condition. They check in but they don’t check out.” UK newspapers regularly feature horror stories, such as “My diary of mum’s awful death”.

In the light of these allegations, 22 leading healthcare groups signed a statement of confidence in the LCP in September. A British doctor who runs a blog on medical ethics, Peter Saunders, describes most newspaper stories as alarmist. He admits that it can be abused, but that normally it works well. “In good hands the LCP is a great clinical tool. But in the wrong hands, or used for the wrong patient, any tool can do more harm than good.”

Here is the consensus statement. It stresses that the LCP is not a way of withholding nutrition and hydration. (Hat tip to Peter Saunders.)

Consensus Statement: Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying Patient

Michael Cook
Creative commons
end of life
Liverpool Care Pathway