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Care pathway will be replaced - UK national director

Thursday October 31st, 2013

A senior doctor has hit back at criticism of the scrapping of the controversial Liverpool care pathway, which was widely used to organise care for dying patients in Britain.

Proposals have already been developed to replace the pathway with new guidance on caring for dying patients, Dr Bee Wee, national clinical director for End of Life Care, revealed.

The recommendation to replace the pathway was made in July - and Dr Wee says the replacement will be ready by the end of the year and final version would be published by the end of February 2014.

Yesterday she said the group developing the proposals was ready for feedback from patients, families and professionals about their ideas.

It came after a senior palliative care nurse criticised the abandonment of the Liverpool pathway - claiming it was leading to more pain and loss of dignity for patients with staff scared to try to get consent from families for treatment.

Dr Wee, who is senior lecturer in palliative medicine at Oxford University, said the new proposals would encourage the use of personalised palliative care plans, using many of the ideas which already exist.

She said there would also be proposals to ensure patients who opted for care plans could communicate their wishes to family and carers.

She said: "But we need to think through how this could work in practice: where it should be kept so that the information is available in the right place at the right time, how it can be kept up to date without it becoming a burden to the person, etc."

She said ten outcomes would set ground rules for care in the last days of life - and they would be used rather than a specific tool such as the Liverpool pathway to assess treatment proposals.

Tags: Cancer | NHS | Pain Relief | UK News

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