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Medics warn of 'national discontent' over care of terminally ill patients

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Current end-of-life guidelines mean terminally ill patients could die prematurely, experts have warned.

Current advice which allows drugs and food to be withdrawn from a dying patient could mask signs of improvement, according to six medics who wrote to the Daily Telegraph.

Drawn up by Marie Curie to reduce suffering for dying patients, the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) is now used in hundreds of hospitals and care homes in England.

The experts claim that ‘forecasting death is an inexact science’ and that decisions are made ‘without regard to the fact that the diagnosis could be wrong.’

‘As a result a national wave of discontent is building up, as family and friends witness the denial of fluids and food to patients.’

However, a spokeswoman for Marie Curie said: ‘The letter talks about death being an inexact science and that is absolutely right. The Liverpool Care Pathway is not about ticking boxes, all decisions are made by a multi-disciplinary team so they’re constantly reviewed and any decisions are made by a range of experts in palliative care.’

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