Dying Matters welcomes recommendations of Liverpool Care Pathway review

16 July 2013
Dying Matters and our lead charity, the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC), have welcomed the recommendations of the Liverpool Care Pathway review.

The independent review, led by Baroness Neuberger, has recommended that the Liverpool Care Pathway, developed to support patients as they near death, be scrapped. The report highlights failings in the implementation of the pathway and recommends that it is replaced by individual care plans.

Speaking today, Eve Richardson, Chief Executive of the National Council for Palliative Care and the Dying Matters Coalition, said: "We welcome the report of the independent review into the Liverpool Care Pathway, and believe that its recommendations have the potential to make a real and much needed difference to the quality of care that people receive in the last days of their life.

"If further evidence were needed - after a series of critical reports ranging from the Francis Inquiry to last week’s National Bereavement Survey - that the current state of care for the dying needs to be dramatically overhauled and staggeringly different standards of end of life care urgently addressed then this report undoubtedly provides it.

"There can be no excuse for not treating people with dignity, compassion and respect when they are dying, at the very time that they most need this. It is essential that whatever follows the Liverpool Care Pathway must be developed in partnership with patients, carers and staff to ensure better outcomes for people who are dying and their families.

"All those involved in end of life care must see this as a priority and provide ongoing training and support for staff to make this a reality – something the review is rightly very strong on. We also welcome the review’s conclusion that there needs to be a proper national conversation about dying, something that the Dying Matters Coalition which the National Council for Palliative Care leads is uniquely placed to be a key part of. We look forward to working with partners including the Department of Health and NHS England over the coming months to ensure that everyone who needs it receives the end of life care that is right for them, wherever that takes place.”

Professor Mayur Lakhani, Chair of the National Council Palliative Care and a practicing GP, added:We only have one chance to get it right for people who are dying, which is why this report is so important and welcome. Five years on from the End of Life Care Strategy, NHS England now has an important opportunity to set out plans for priority actions in end of life care, including arrangements to make sure that no one is left in limbo during the transition from the Liverpool Care Pathway to personalised end of life care plans.”

Download the full report here and read the Government response here.

Interim guidance on end of life care for doctors and nurses has been issued by NHS England - view the guidance.

As part of its work, Dying Matters is actively involved in seeking to improve the care people receive at the end of life in hospitals.

We are working with the Chief Nurse of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and her team on a compassionate care training programme over three years so that all 6,000 nurses across the Trust’s three Hospitals – Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull – and their community services will be better placed to care for and support people at the end of their lives. Alongside this, Dying Matters and the Trust will also be developing an improved compassionate employment programme aimed at supporting staff in the Trust who are affected by end of life issues.

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