15 July 2013
Responding to Baroness Neuberger’s review of the Liverpool Care Pathway1, Professor Jane Maher, Chief Medical Officer of Macmillan Cancer Support, said:
'The Liverpool Care Pathway was a brave and important attempt to tackle the taboo subject of how to best care for people at the end of life, through hospice care, and works very well much of the time. However poor implementation can result in the upsetting findings highlighted in today’s report.
'Macmillan welcomes the move to individual care planning, but it’s vital staff are supported and trained to have the right culture and skills in place, and to talk to patients and their families early on. Talking about death does not make it happen any sooner. But it can help people understand the choices they might have if they become more ill. Early involvement of palliative care staff and support for GPs is key to ensuring people have their symptoms managed and understand what is happening.
'All professionals should see it as a core part of their job to help patients and their loved ones to think about end of life. Everyone must feel comfortable having conversations about dying so they can plan the care they receive in the last hours or days of life.'
For further information, please contact:
Emma Guise, Head of Media, Macmillan Cancer Support
0207 840 4790 or out of hours on 07801 307068
Notes to Editors:
1 Independent Review of the Liverpool Care Pathway (2013)
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