A story at the weekend which was eclipsed by Prof Sir Bob Keogh’s report (to be published later today) into 13,000 unnecessary deaths in 14 NHS Trusts was the Government’s decision to scrap the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP), dubbed the death plan for its sole aim of killing off patients at the end of their lives to free up NHS hospital beds.
The LCP was promoted by doctors and nurses as a programme to give terminally ill patients a dignified death. It was nothing of the sort. NHS Trusts were incentivised with money to put people on the death plan and the more who were killed off through its use the more dosh the NHS Trust got their bloodied hands on.
The Department for Health ordered an inquiry into the LCP, it’s practices and the experiences of patients placed on the plan and their relatives. Liberal Democrat health minister, Norman Lamb (who I’ve always had a lot of time for, especially his work on the credit card industry), branded the LCP “a national disgrace”, which is an understatement considering the evidence collected from patients’ relatives.
People placed on the LCP were refused water to the extent some were seen desperately sucking at wet sponges. Nurses (yep, those “wonderful” nurses again) involved in the implementation of the death plan were described in the LCP review report as “uncaring, rushed and ignorant” and of using “brutal or callous language” with the word ‘futile’ scrawled in big letters in one patient’s notes who had been placed on the death plan. There were several reports of doctors and nurses passing the end of patients’ beds saying loudly “Oh, is X still with us?
Once patients were placed on the LCP, there was no course of appeal. That was it. The only exit was death. Some patients, desperate for water, were heavily sedated to shut them up. Where relatives could, they gave them the water they were crying out for only for nurses to scream at them from across the ward to not given them a drink because they were on the LCP. There were multiple accounts of this behaviour from nurses.
The Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) was basically a doctor’s order to starve a patient to death with even junior doctors in the middle of the night giving the order the patient should die. This is the UK in the 21st Century not Hitler’s Germany but it might as well be.
Thankfully, the LCP is being scrapped and to be replaced with a system (yet to be explained by ministers) whereby patients who are at end of their lives are treated as individuals with their own tailored care plan. I could have told them that before the LCP was implemented nationwide by the state health care system (which even those who can go private have to use). This is what socialism looks like in the raw: a killing machine.
Today Jeremy Hunt, the current Health Secretary, will address Parliament on the Keogh Report into the 13,000 needless deaths, which are on top of the LCP deaths where it was deemed “legal” to kill.
The NHS is not fit for purpose and in many cases doctors and nurses are acting like guards in Auschwitz rather than caring health professionals in the seventh richest country on Earth. We need words from the Health Secretary today explaining what he is going to do about this catastrophe in our hospitals but we also need visual action: nurses and doctors taken from hospitals in handcuffs might be a good start.