New NHS guidelines on “end of life” care are worse than the Liverpool Care Pathway and could push more patients to an early grave, a leading doctor has warned.
Prof Patrick Pullicino, one of the first medics to raise concerns over the pathway, said the national proposals would encourage hospital staff to guess who was dying, in the absence of any clear evidence, and to take steps which could hasten patients’ death.
“Diagnosis of who was imminently dying was the core problem of the Liverpool Care Pathway and is no better in the Nice document,” he said. “It includes a cookbook list of features that may suggest someone is dying but is totally inadequate to make a diagnosis and is not evidence-based. So we are back at the LCP in terms of the risk of putting patients who are not dying onto inappropriate and potentially lethal treatment.”
The neurologist said patients should be given “good quality compassionate care” not a set of protocals based on poor evidence.
The pathway was axed following a review led by Baroness Neuberger, which said patients “should be supported with hydration and nutrition unless there is a strong reason not to do so”.
The new guidance says dying patients who are able to drink should be given water if they seek it.
But it also says patients should also be told “death is unlikely to be hastened by not having clinically assisted hydration” – such as a drip.
Prof Pullicino said the claim was “completely untrue,” stating that lack of hydration would kill anyone who cannot drink.
He accused Nice of a “disaster of misinformation, distortion and ambiguity” in its advice.
So they’re told to tell us that not having a drip won’t kill us when in fact not having a drip will kill us.
It’s the Wonder of the World, isn’t it?