Three Norfolk families who claim loved ones were put on a controversial care plan without their agreement have welcomed a investigation into hospital payments.

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Care services minister Norman Lamb has ordered the independent inquiry into why hospitals have been paid tens of millions for putting patients on the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP).

It came after a round table meeting at the Department of Health, chaired by the North Norfolk MP, which brought doctors and family members together to discuss concerns about the LCP.

“What I discovered when coming into this role is that local payments are made to hospitals for putting patients on the LCP,” the health minister said.

“The concern is that payments are being made to get more people on the pathway so I have asked for a review of this. Payments should only be made if it can be shown that it’s genuinely improving the end of life and is not just a payment for putting people on a list or a register.”

It is hoped the inquiry, which critics of the LCP say should be overseen by a High Court judge, will report back to Mr Lamb in the New Year. The North Norfolk MP has also previously unveiled new rules which could see hospitals facing legal action if patients and their families are not consulted over end-of-life care decisions.

Tens of thousands of people are placed every year on the pathway, which aims to ensure that the “right type of care is available for people in the last days or hours of life when all of the possible reversible causes for their condition have been considered”.

Denise Charlesworth-Smith, who lives in Brookville, near Methwold, was one of those invited to attend the meeting in London on Monday.

Mrs Charlesworth-Smith has been calling for the government to take action since, she claims, her father was placed on the LCP without any consultation with her family. Her 82-year-old father, Phil, was admitted to King’s Mill hospital in Nottinghamshire in January with breathing problems and died five days later after being put on the LCP. “Handing out money because someone is on the LCP is wrong,” she said.

Roy Cooper’s wife Mary died on August 13, after spending eight weeks at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King’s Lynn.

Mrs Cooper, from Clench-warton, was taken to the Lynn-based hospital on June 19 after collapsing with low blood sugar levels and Mr Cooper claimed no-one at the hospital explained the care plan to him. Backing Mr Lamb’s inquiry announcement, the Clenchwarton resident said: “I just can’t believe hospitals get money for doing that – it’s disgusting.”

Meanwhile, Terrington St Clement resident Janet Davies has also welcomed the announcement by the health minister and said it was a “step in the right direction”.

Her 83-year-old husband, Colin, died from septicaemia on November 8, 2010 after being in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for a month.

He had been put on the care plan for two days before being removed and dying two weeks later. Mrs Davies believes two days without food and drink played a crucial part in her husband’s death.

13 comments

  • I feel that what some forget and should remember is that the care is for the individual and in the individual's best interests. It cannot be for anyone else including family to decide unless the individual is a child or an adult who (legally) has to have those decisions made for them. As much as that may seem harsh that, to me, is how it should be. The patient's, client's, individual's (however described) rights and well being should be the focus of any medical decisions, not the family.

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    micklynn

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • Also in support of the LCP ARE....British Heart Foundation , English Community Care Association , Association for Palliative Medicine of Great Britain and Ireland , Help the Hospices , The Nuffield Trust , National Council for Palliative Care and ....Multiple Sclerosis Society.

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    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • Who supports the LCP ? Age UK , Alzheimers Society , Multiple Sclerosisy Society , Macmillan Nurses , Marie Curie cancer care , all the royal colleges of gps and nursing , Sue Ryder , Motor Neurone Association , British Geriatric Society etc etc etc, . Against ? The Daily Wail and a few bible bashers.

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    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • I'm a Nurse, I've been a Nurse for 39 years. I don't agree with the LCP. I come from Norfolk, I rescued my brother from the LCP. He lived another 5 weeks at home with his children. he wa 48 years old. We were told he was dying and had hours to live, he wasn't. I'm not a bible basher and I don't resent people being given pain relief and a comfortable death but let's be sure they are really dying first. Some hospitals don't allow patients to eat or drink, others do. The LCP is abused and that's why we relatives are very angry and your smug comments don't help.

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    Kathy Flanagan

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • Whipsnade, it's not emotional rubbish. There are more cases coming to light every day. If one or two lives are saved it's worth it. I have no wish to keep someone alive in a vegetative state but those who aren't deserve to live. There is now a large network of people that are very unhappy about the LCP. it doen't matter how many people or groups support the LCP if it is flawed. How many Germans supported Hitler? They were wrong. The world was flat before it was round those people were wrong too. "Most are perfectly satisfied with the LCP and appreciate and support the care given." Where's your evidence to support that assertion? The LCP needs reviewing and standardising if it is to be used. As I said earlier let's be sure people are really dying before they are put on the LCP because clearly some of them were not. How many have died because they were put on the LCP inappropriately? I don't know and neither do you.

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    Kathy Flanagan

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • Whipsnade, against? Some Drs, some nurses, lots of relatives and the patients who survived the LCP. The broadsheets covered the debate as did BBC Radio 5. You might be prepared to have your life or loved one's lives extinguished prematurely but other people aren't.

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    Kathy Flanagan

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • Now since when did the family, except in certain cases, have a legal and professional duty to anyone other than the patient? The family may obviously care more and many family members will want decisions to be made on the basis of their needs rather than what is best for the patient. But for professionals, the patient comes first; taking into account, where possible, family wishes but not allowing family members to override them.

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    micklynn

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

  • Norman Lamb's answer seems to be to say something is unacceptable and then call for a review. He did it with the ambulances too.

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    Jeffrey Osborne

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • its a shame that a few who can't come to terms that a family member is going to die have to blame someonesomething for the death of their loved one, SCARE MONGERING. the LCP when used correctly is a fantastic care package AIMED at the individual. My family member died while on the LCP under the care of the community nurse team at north walsham, maybe norman lamb should pay them a visit and see how it works properly. A big heart warm thank you to the nurses at north walsham for letting my father die at home with dignity,peace and with family.

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    tommy

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • ****your smug comments don't help****. Take a look at yourself , your are the one claiming to speak for relatives when you in fact represent a very minority view.Most are perfectly satisfied with the LCP and appreciate and support the care given. There are always those who cannot accept death and will always look for someone to blame .

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    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • ****You might be prepared to have your life or loved one's lives extinguished prematurely but other people aren't.**** Emotional rubbish , and don't scare monger by claiming that there is an army of people out there who were expected to die but went on to live a full and happy life . If someone lives longer than was expected....good....but don't deceive readers by pretending it is common place. We could if we wished keep an elderly person alive who has suffered multiple organ failure and would naturally die without intervention....keep alive in vegetative state for months. I assume that's want you want.

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    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • Sorry my first lines should read: Now since when did the family, except in certain cases, have a legal and professional duty to anyone in this matter?

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    micklynn

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

  • Micklynn the family are usually the one's who care the most about the patient not the medical profession. my brother was very grateful that we took him off the LCP. He was furious with his consultant for putting him on it and really gave him a piece of his mind. The patients rights and well being are the concern of the family, not the Doctor.

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    Kathy Flanagan

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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