CONTROVERSY over NHS treatment of people near the end of their lives risks undoing decades of improvement, Banbury MP Sir Tony Baldry has warned.
The Conservative spoke following national concern about the Liverpool care pathway, an NHS protocol for some end-of-life treatment This allows doctors to withdraw treatment for those nearing death, though some relatives have said they were not asked if it could be used.
Sir Tony – who co-founded an all-party Commons hospice group in the early 1980s – said there is “no systemic evidence to suggest that the policy is being abused”.
Research from 2011 found relatives were asked about the decision to use the care pathway in 94 per cent of cases.
He told the Commons: “If we are not careful, all the work that has been done over the past 30 years by a whole number of organisations to enhance and improve palliative care could be undone.”
Sir Tony added: “People do not go into the medical profession to kill.
“My father became a doctor and my mother a nurse to ensure that they could give people the best quality of care.”
The Oxford Mail has asked Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust whether it uses the pathway and whether any people have been placed on it without relatives’ consent. The trust has yet to provide a response.