A significant majority of NHS Trusts have now adopted the so-called ‘Liverpool Care Pathway’, a treatment regime for patients thought to be in the final hours or day of their lives.
According to a report from the Daily Telegraph, 85 per cent of the 72 NHS trusts are now making use of the Pathway, which provides a code of practice for the treatment of patients thought to be terminally ill. It can, in some cases, involve the withdrawal of medical treatment, food and water from such patients. It is designed to discourage unnecessary treatments for people who have reached the end of their lives and allow a dignified death but has also attracted criticism from some doctors and newspapers.
Conservative peer Lady Knight recently called for an independent enquiry into the treatment regime.
More than two thirds (62 per cent) of the trusts report having received, or expecting to receive, financial incentives from NHS Commissioners for meeting targets associated with the Liverpool Care Pathway.
The figures were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.