Views & Reviews From the Frontline

How the Liverpool care pathway has transformed end of life care

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e7308 (Published 31 October 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7308
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. destwo{at}yahoo.co.uk

The media have criticised the end of life Liverpool care pathway (LCP), implying it a deliberate attempt to end life prematurely to free hospital beds.1 Reports say that general practitioners are establishing “death lists” of patients to put on the pathway.2 Several distressing stories from families support these claims. Naturally doctors are angered by these accusations. And there is another side to the story.

Twenty five years ago doctors received no training in end of life care. The most junior doctors provided care in …

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