Readers will be aware of the significant press interest in the Liverpool Care Pathway and specifically whether or not patients and family members are informed that the patient will be placed on the pathway for receipt of palliative care only.
Media coverage has followed high profile examples of cases involving patients where DNARs have been put in place without the patient or their family knowing that this was the case. One of these cases, involving a patient named Janet Tracey, is currently the subject of legal proceedings in the High Court as her family alleges this was done without their knowledge.
Indeed, the DH has inserted a passage into the draft revised NHS Constitution in response to the controversy, which reads: "You have the right to be involved fully in all discussions and decisions about your health and care, including in your end of life care, and to be given information to enable you to do this. Where appropriate this right includes your family and carers."
As referred to elsewhere in this publication, the revised constitution is currently the subject of a consultation. We will of course keep you informed but in the meantime, it is worth noting that for patients with capacity, it is for them to decide who else you might consult in relation to their care and for those who lack capacity, those involved in their care, including family members, should be consulted about care decisions.