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Dying with dignity

LCP debate 3In the past few months you might have read some worrying media reports about the Liverpool Care Pathway – a programme of care designed to help people in the last days and hours of their lives.

On 8th January I spoke from the Opposition Front Bench in a Parliamentary debate about this crucial issue. I argued that the Liverpool Care Pathway is not in any way about ending someone’s life but a framework for delivering excellent end-of-life care, so people can die with dignity and respect, and without pain and suffering wherever possible.

However, there is worrying evidence about the way the Pathway is being implemented on the ground. Too many patients and families are not being properly informed about what the Pathway is and how it works, or involved in all of the necessary decisions. This is unacceptable and must change.

I welcome the fact that this issue is now being reviewed. During the debate I pressed the Minister to ensure the review looks at the education and training NHS and care staff get in delivering effective end of life care, particularly their communication skills, which are essential when discussing difficult and emotional issues with patients and their families.

You might be interested in reading my speech, which you can find here.