"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.