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03rd December 2012

Criticism of Liverpool Care Pathway highlights inadequacy of Care Planning

Liverpool Care Pathway gets treatment from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight

On Monday, 26th November the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme Newsnight gave the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) the full Jeremy Paxman treatment. In a story that highlighted inadequacies of how the LCP has been applied, the report made its point with hard hitting examples, interviewing relatives of those that the system for managing of end-of-life care had allegedly failed.

“Licence to kill” and “medical euthanasia”

Mr Paxman remarks suggested that the LCP is a system that offers rewards for hastening death and that despite compassionate intentions, the LCP is a sentence for death; it is self-fulfilling and hastens the shortening of life; one example that was given was failing to meet a basic need like hydration.

Some relatives of those that the LCP was alleged to have failed called the LCP a “licence to kill” and “medical euthanasia”. There was also the accusation that consent had not been given for patients to be placed on the pathway. The report also mentioned that the wishes of terminally ill patients had not been properly taken into account, suggesting a basic inadequacy in care planning .

Failed Outcomes and government review

The day after the programme was broadcast, Norman Lamb, Secretary of State for Care Services announced an independent chair to oversee reviews of the LCP is working. It is clear that if these allegations are true, then in these cases Care Planning has failed with respect to the following Outcomes set out within The Care Quality Commission’s (CQC’s) ‘Essential Standards of Quality and Safety’:

  • Outcome 1 - Respecting and involving people who use our services
  • Outcome 4 - Care and welfare of people who use our services

It is unlikely that these Outcomes were wilfully ignored; it is much more likely to be a failure of process. There is also a significant probability that this is a consequence of the burdensome and complex nature of the regulatory requirements.

Care Planning with QCS

The use of the QCS Care Planning system in adult and social care organisations ensures that there is an adherence to process, whatever the regulatory requirement. The QCS system ensures that good care planning is consistently achieved by providing a full range of appropriate assessment tools to care plan for any type, range and mix of needs.

Please click this link to see how cost effective it is to adopt the QCS Care Planning package on its own, or as part of a comprehensive full management system solution.

You can follow this link to watch the report on the BBC’s website.

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