Liverpool Care Pathway to be phased out in Scotland

Categories: Care.

The Scottish Government has accepted the recommendations from the Living and Dying Well National Advisory Group.

This follows the Neuberger review of the LCP in England, which found the framework has not always been used appropriately.

The Living and Dying Well National Advisory Group, which has been considering the issue, has made a series of recommendations about what will be required to ensure learning from the LCP review is implemented in Scotland.

According to a statement on the Scottish Government website, a working group will now be established to support the changes required.

Interim guidance on caring for people in the last days and hours of life has also been issued to all Scottish health boards, which will be followed until a new set of guidelines on best practice is available in 2014.

The guidance places a strong emphasis on good, consistent communications by medical professionals with families and loved ones of patients.

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing Alex Neil said:

“While standards of end of life care in Scotland are generally very high, the aim of improving care in the last days and hours of life to ensure that everyone has a dignified death is a priority for the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland.

“When the LCP was introduced, the aim was to support the delivery of high quality care by all clinical teams providing care in the final days and hours of life. This aim is as relevant today as it ever was.

“The expert group looking at this issue has recommended phasing out the LCP and setting up a new group to develop an alternative. In the meantime, strong interim guidance will be put in place to ensure that care for those at the end of their lives meets the high standards we demand.

“This will include work to support staff to speak to patients and their families openly and honestly to avoid misunderstandings and distress. Families need to know there is a clear accountability for care and this must be communicated so patients know there is a named GP or consultant taking overall responsibility for care.

“We expect new, comprehensive guidance to be in place within a year.”

The Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care response

The Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care have said that they welcome the publication by the Scottish Government of interim guidance for health and social care staff on caring for people in the last days and hours of life.

Chief Executive Mark Hazelwood said:

“Around 40,000 people with palliative care needs die each year in Scotland and around a third of hospital beds are used by people in the last year of their life. Getting care right every time for these people and their families is a major challenge for our health and social care system.

“Written guidance can help staff to provide good care. But even more important is that staff get adequate education and training and are able to work in an environment which supports them to use their skills, knowledge and compassion.

“There also need to be systems which give patients and families the chance to give feedback – so that care can continue to be improved.

“New guidance is to be developed during 2014 and it is essential that this is done in a way which involves the Scottish public and is fully open and transparent.

“We look forward to working with government and other stakeholders to further improve care.”

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