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31 January 2014

Dignity in Dying and Compassion in Dying respond to the Leadership alliance for the care of dying people consultation

The review into The Liverpool Care Pathway demonstrated the need for good communication between healthcare professionals and the dying patient.

In summer 2013 the independent review of the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) published its report ‘More Care Less Pathway’.  They recommended that the Liverpool Care Pathway should be phased out by July 2014 and replaced with a new system which ensured every patient should receive individual end-of-life care plans. Another of its recommendations was to set up the Leadership Alliance for the Care of Dying People (LACDP). The LADCP is tasked with leading and providing a focus for improving the care for dying people and their families, and their consultation closes today.

Both Dignity in Dying and its partner charity Compassion in Dying have submitted responses to the consultation.  Compassion in Dying provides information and support to people about their current rights and choices at the end of life, while Dignity in Dying campaigns to extend the law.

Dignity in Dying and Compassion in Dying believe that everyone should have the opportunity to create an end-of-life care plan setting out their needs and wishes for the end of life, and should have access to good advice services to inform their choices.  We believe that Advance Decisions should be recorded in a central national health register so that health professionals can take them into account in treatment, and that health and social care professionals should have access to training on end-of-life issues including offering emotional, psychological and spiritual support to patients; communication skills and high-quality bereavement skills.

Both organisations believe that public engagement is critical in order to improve end-of-life care and welcome the work of the Leadership Alliance:

Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying and Compassion in Dying said:

“The review into The Liverpool Care Pathway demonstrated the need for good communication between healthcare professionals and the dying patient.  There cannot be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to end-of-life care. Some people at the end of life wish to prolong life as far as medical technology allows, whilst many others do not and instead wish to die as comfortably and peacefully as possible, without ‘heroic measures’ or life-prolonging treatment. Choice accommodates both perspectives, and whatever replaces the Liverpool Care Pathway should promote patient choice and involvement in decision making wherever possible.”

Notes to editor:

About Dignity in Dying:

About Compassion in Dying:

The End-of-Life Rights Information Line

The End-of-Life Rights Information Line is available on freephone 0800 999 2434 and is open between 11am and 3pm Monday to Friday.

Advance Decisions

An Advance Decision is a document that allows individuals to set out their wishes and preferences for medical treatment in advance, in the event that they become unable to communicate with their health team (for example, if they fall into a coma or develop dementia).  Advance Decisions were given statutory force under the Mental Capacity Act, 2005 (in October 2007) meaning the refusal of treatment is legally binding.  The Compassion in Dying Advance Decision is fully compliant with the Mental Capacity Act.

Advance Decisions are sometimes called:

Free Advance Decisions are available by calling the Information Line or to download

Lasting Powers of Attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document. It allows you to appoint someone that you trust as an ‘attorney’ to make decisions on your behalf.

There are two types of LPA: property and financial affairs and health and personal welfare.  A Lasting Power of Attorney cannot be used until it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.

Attorneys for health and personal welfare can make decisions for you when you lack the mental capacity to do so.

Media Contacts:

For all Dignity in Dying media enquiries, please contact Jo Cartwright on 020 7479 7737 / 07725 433025 or at

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