The British National Health Service (NHS) — the epitome of socialized medicine — may be prematurely ending the lives of as many as 130,000 elderly patients annually, a top physician told the Royal Society of Medicine in London. Patrick Pullicino, a consultant neurologist for East Kent Hospitals and professor of clinical neurosciences at the University of Kent, said a controversial end-of-life care method called the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) now used in British hospitals has become an “assisted death pathway rather than a care pathway,” according to a report in the Daily Mail.
“If we accept the Liverpool Care Pathway we accept that euthanasia is part of the standard way of dying as it is now associated with 29 per cent of NHS deaths,” Pullicino declared, referring to statistics showing that of the 450,000 annual deaths of patients under NHS care, about 130,000 are of patients who were on the LCP.
The Mail offers a brief history of the LCP:
The Liverpool Care Pathway was first developed at a Marie Curie [Cancer Care] hospice in the city with the intention of making the last days and hours of cancer sufferers as decent and painless as possible.
It rapidly became fashionable: recognized as a model for the NHS in 2001; approved by NICE [the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, which rations care on a cost-benefit basis] as a recommended practice in 2004; and a 2006 health white paper said it should be adopted across the country. Its use spread from cancer sufferers to all patients. Doctors are supposed to identify a patient who is bound to die in the near future.
The plan then can include withdrawal of treatment, including the provision of water and nourishment by tube. Patients are typically heavily sedated.
The LCP’s quick adoption by the NHS and NICE represented “euthanasia by the back door,” in the words of the Telegraph’s Gerald Warner. “In 2007–08,” he wrote, “16.5 percent of deaths in Britain resulted from continuous deep sedation — twice the rate of the Netherlands with its notorious culture of death and legalized euthanasia.”
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