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Death Panels in England are Real

National Health Service pays for putting terminally ill patients on pathway to death.

"The majority of NHS hospitals in England are being given financial rewards for placing terminally-ill patients on a controversial 'pathway' to death, it can be disclosed."

That headline, on www.telegraph.co.uk leads into such statements as:

  • "Almost two thirds of NHS trusts using the Liverpool Care Pathway have received payouts totalling millions of pound for hitting targets."
  • Citing a Freedom of Information source, "[The figures] suggest that about 85 percent of trusts have now adopted the regime, which can involve the removal of hydration and nutrition from dying patients."
  • "At many hospitals, more than 50 per cent of all patients who died had been placed on the pathway and in one case the proportion of foreseeable deaths on the pathway was almost nine out of 10."
  • "Last night the Department of Health insisted that payments could help ensure that people were 'treated with dignity in their final days and hours.'"
  • "But opponents described it as 'absolutely shocking' that hospitals could be paid to employ potentially 'lethal treatments."

After many paragraphs including mention of "meaningful conversation" with patients and families, "A handful of trusts openly spoke of either hitting or missing targets to the LCP in their responses."

Brings to mind American debate about 'death panels" in the Affordable Health Care Act, doesn't it?

Frank Versagi is the editor of Versagi Voice.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Cal Hayhow November 14, 2012 at 12:04 PM
This article is BS. Frank has way too much time on his hands! Did anyone bother to vet the article?
Lianne Mathie November 14, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Geriatric psychiatrist Paul Kettl said his experience in a geriatric unit showed end-of-life discussions and reimbursements were "desperately needed" as these hour long conversations are "ignored in the crush of medication and disease management."[64] In the Journal of the American Medical Association, Kettl wrote he was in favor of the "death panels that were originally proposed ... periodic discussions about advance directives that Medicare would pay for as medical visits."[64] Kettl noted that the attention-catching phrase "death panels" became "a lightning rod for objections to a series of ideas about health care besides" end-of-life discussions, and that somehow, "the concept of physicians being paid for time to talk with patients and their families about advance directives ... generated into the fear of decisions about life and death being controlled by the government."[64] Kettl also wrote that, "We can expect more good medical ideas to be destroyed by sound bytes and needless concerns that will be exaggerated. It makes for good television, but bad medicine."[64] Needless to say this phrase "Death Panels" was distorted for political purposes and really addresses end of life directives doctors have with their patients.However it make good theater.

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