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20/12/13 09:57

End of life care

Liverpool Care Pathway to be phased out in Scotland.

The guidance for end of life care known as the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) will be phased out in Scotland over the next year.

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.

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.”