Baroness Nueberger heads Government review of controversial “euthanasia pathway”

Following the nationwide controversy over the so-called “euthanansia pathway” when food and medication are withdrawn from dying elderly patients in hospital, the government has announced it is to conduct an independent review.
Members of the public are now being invited to share their experiences of the Liverpool Care Pathway for Dying Patients (LCP), both good and bad, as part of the review being chaired by Senior Rabbi and Crossbench Peer, Baroness Julia Neuberger.
Their views will feed into the independent review of the pathway, which was announced in November 2012 by Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb to investigate concerns about the pathway, particularly accounts of the withdrawal of foods and fluids from dying patients and the use of financial incentives.
Julia NeubergerSpeaking today, Baroness Neuberger said:
“I am honoured to have been asked to lead this review. It will tackle a really important area of concern and, I hope, be able to make recommendations that will improve how dying people are treated within our health and social care system.
The review will examine various elements of the LCP, including:
  • the experience and opinions of patients and families;
  • the experience and opinions of health professionals;
  • hospital complaints;
  • the role of financial incentives in respect of the LCP;
  • the literature about benefits and limitations of the Liverpool Care Pathway.

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb added:

“Experts agree the Liverpool Care Pathway, if applied properly, can help patients die a dignified and pain free death, but, as we have seen, there have been too many unacceptable cases where patients or their families were ignored or not properly involved in decisions. There have also been reports of food and fluids being denied to people inappropriately.
“It is vital for relatives to have complete confidence in the care that their loved ones are receiving. This is why we want to hear from people with experience of the Liverpool Care Pathway, where it met the high standards expected and where things went wrong.
“I urge people to get in touch to share their experiences, so we can ensure that lessons are learned and things put right.”
As part of the review, Baroness Neuberger will be holding meetings with families who have had experience of the LCP.
Today, Baroness Neuberger also announced full details of the panel of independent experts she has appointed to run the review:
Denise Charlesworth-Smith – Has experience of the Liverpool Care Pathway when her father was placed on it
Tony Bonser – fund-raiser for Macmillan Cancer Support; North Western Champion for the Dying Matters Consortium
The Rt Revd Richard Harries – Former Bishop of Oxford
Lord Charles Guthrie – Chancellor of Liverpool Hope University; Chairman of both the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth and St Johns Hospice.
Professor Emily Jackson – Dean of Law at the London School of Economics
Dr Dennis Cox – Royal College of General Practitioners
David Aaronovitch – Columnist for The Times
Lord Khalid Hameed – Chairman of the Alpha Hospital Group; Chairman & CEO of the London International Hospital,
Sarah Waller – A former trust chief nurse and director of human resources: currently leads The King’s Fund’s Enhancing the Healing Environment Programme.
The review will report to ministers and to the NHS Commissioning Board in the summer.
For further information about the review and to submit evidence, please visit: