Lawyers Reveal Hopes For ‘Vital’ End-Of-Life Care Improvements

New CQC Research Raises Concerns Regarding Patient Safety

17.08.2015

Specialist public lawyers have urged that patient safety must be the core focus of planned changes to the end-of-life care pathway, after new research raised concerns of hospitals putting dying patients at risk of harm.

According to the Care Quality Commission (CQC), 50 out of 105 hospitals inspected since November 2013 have been criticised for the care provided to those reaching the end of their life.

Examples of problems identified include situations where hospitals referred to patients by bed numbers as opposed to names, as well as cases where do not resuscitate orders were made without patients being told.

Following the research, the CQC told the Daily Telegraph it was launching a review to consider the problems raised and why patients affected by illnesses other than cancer appear to receive a lower standard of care.

Reacting to the research, Irwin Mitchell’s specialist Public Law team revealed hopes that planned changes to the end-of-life pathway will improve standards.

Expert Opinion
“The findings from the CQC are clearly very worrying, as they raise clear concerns that the safety and quality of care provided to those reaching the end of their life is simply not good enough.

“With NICE recently publishing new draft guidance on end-of-life support, it must be hoped that the mistakes of the past will be tackled and lessons ultimately learned.

“The previous Liverpool Care Pathway process, which was in force when this research was undertaken, has come under much criticism and we have seen numerous cases where the guidelines were found to be not fit for purpose.

“Everything possible must be done to ensure that a patient’s human rights and dignity are always considered in their care. In addition, patients and their loved ones should always be consulted to ensure they are comfortable with decisions being taken.”
Anne-Marie Irwin, Associate