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Christian doctor: "more time" needed to train end of life doctors

by Hannah Tooley

Professor Rob George, President of the Association for Palliative Medicine, was speaking to Premier after new draft end of life care guidelines were issued by the National Institute for Health Care and Excellence (NICE).

The new information states that decisions on when patients reach the end of their life should be taken by a number of health experts, rather just than one doctor.

It was created after the end of the controversial Liverpool Care Pathway, a plan that in some cases phased out food and drink at the end of a person's life.

The new guidance says people should be encouraged to have something to drink if they want to, but says it should be stopped if it causes more harm.

"There needs to be more time devoted to training people in how to talk to patients properly and helping and supporting them through sometimes very distressing decisions as practicing clinicians when we see things go wrong.

"The failure wasn't to do with the Liverpool Care Pathway being bad, but just people using it badly, it's a bit like the Highway Code - blaming the Highway Code for whether someone has an accident on the road, they've had an accident on the road because they've made a bad decision, not because of the Highway Code."

It also stresses how important it is to recognise when a patient has a chance at recovery, rather than being allowed to die.

NICE says this should help doctors and nurses identify when someone is entering the last days of their life and puts the person and family at the heart of their care.

The new guidelines are open for consultation until mid-September 2015.

Listen to Premier's Hannah Tooley speak to Professor Rob George here:

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