NHS is killing up to 130,000 patients a year by euthanasia, says senior physician

Euthanasia accounts for nearly a third of all deaths in the National Health Service, a senior physician has said.

Professor Patrick Pullicino (pictured), an NHS neurologist, said sick and elderly people who were not dying from their illnesses were routinely being killed by being placed on the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP).

He told a Medical Ethics Alliance conference at the Royal Society of Medicine in London that he believed patients were killed sometimes because they were “difficult to manage” or because NHS staff faced pressure to free up hospital beds.

He said the lack of an evidence-base for putting patients on the LCP made it an “assisted death pathway” and not a care pathway.

“If we accept the LCP we accept that euthanasia is part of the standard way of dying as it is now associated with 29 per cent of NHS deaths,” he said.

“Very likely many elderly patients who could live substantially longer are being killed by the LCP.”

In the worst case scenario his estimates suggest an epidemic of covert euthanasia in the NHS, involving the annual deaths of nearly 130,000 people from some 450,000 people who die in hospitals each year.

Fewer than three per cent of patients are removed from the pathway with the rest taking an average of 33 hours to die.

Once a patient is placed on the pathway they are heavily sedated then their food and fluid is withdrawn so they are starved and dehydrated to death in an induced coma. Families do not have the legal power to object.

The LCP is supposed to be used only when prognoses indicate that patients are “in their last hours or days of life”.

But Professor Pullicino said patients were routinely placed on the pathway without any prognostic tests being made at all.

Pressure on beds ‘a factor’

“Predicting death in a time frame of three to four days, or even at any other specific time, is not possible scientifically,” he said.

“This determination in the LCP leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy. The personal views of the physician or other medical team members of perceived quality of life or low likelihood of a good outcome are probably central in putting a patient on the LCP.”

He added: “Factors like pressure on beds and difficulty with nursing confused or difficult-to-manage elderly patients cannot be excluded.”

The pathway, he said, was “seriously undermining evidence-based medical practice and the doctor-patient relationship”.

Sensationally, he also revealed how he had personally intervened to take a patient off the LCP who was later successfully treated.

The 71-year-old man of Italian origin was suffering from pneumonia and epilepsy and was put on the LCP by a covering doctor on a weekend shift.

“I removed the patient from the LCP despite significant resistance,” said Professor Pullicino.

“His seizures came under control and four weeks later he was discharged home to his family,” he said.

The man required substantial nursing care when he returned home and he was readmitted to a different hospital 14 months later, again suffering from pneumonia. This time died five hours after he was placed on the LCP.

In breaking his silence, Professor Pullicino has emerged as one of the most senior medics in Britain to criticise the LCP, and follows the warnings of three senior palliative care experts who raised similar grave concerns nearly three years ago.

He is the Professor of Clinical Neuroscience at the University of Kent, Visiting Professor of Neurology at St George’s University, London, and the Adjunct Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience at the New Jersey Medical School in the US.

The LCP has proved controversial since it was developed in a Liverpool hospice by Marie Curie, the cancer charity, to reduce the suffering of patients in their final hours.

But in 2004 it was recommended as a model by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and rolled out across the country.

It is now considered to be “gold standard health care”, recently endorsed by Paul Burstow, the Liberal Democat Care Services Minister.

Targets are being set for the implementation of the LCP and hospitals and managers are being assessed on how successfully they adopt the pathway.

‘Like a birthing plan that ends in death’

A Department of Health spokesman denied that the LCP was being used for euthanasia.

He said: “The Liverpool Care Pathway is not euthanasia and we do not recognise these figures. The pathway is recommended by NICE and has overwhelming support from clinicians – at home and abroad – including the Royal College of Physicians.

“A patient’s condition is monitored at least ever four hours and if a patient improves, they are taken off the Liverpool Care Pathway and given whatever treatment best suits their new needs.”

But Dr Philip Howard, a Catholic NHS hospital doctor in Surrey, said that he also believed the LCP meant large-scale euthanasia by stealth and the practice would soon bypass arguments over whether euthanasia should be legalised.

Patients are put on the LCP increasingly by multi-disciplinary teams than by physicians, he said, adding that this indicated management decisions supplanted medical judgements.

“It is like planning a delivery. It’s like a labour plan, a birthing plan, that ends in death,” he said.

“It is a decision with an end in view. The patient is dying. Why? Because we say they are dying. Why? Because we have decided.”

He said: “That’s a worry when you have the problem of getting it wrong.”

Source: Diocese of Shrewsbury

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33 Responses to NHS is killing up to 130,000 patients a year by euthanasia, says senior physician

  1. JabbaPapa says:

    This is just absolutely horrible, and it’s the WORST demonstration that I know of that the British have generally speaking collectively decided that cash and personal profit are more important than ANYTHING else !!!

    The absolute horror of how the most vulnerable at either end of the spectrum, the unborn and the senile, are being systematically and brutally exterminated for reasons of pure and simple convenience, and either individually mandated or NHS mandated or Government mandated McDonaldised cost-cutting, can never be overemphasised.

    Here is the secular atheist Brave New World that the “legacy” of Thatcherism and New Labour has created for Britain.


  2. Toadkill says:


    “Here is the secular atheist Brave New World that the “legacy” of Thatcherism and New Labour has created for Britain.”

    Brave New World!
    Overstating the case a teeny bit, Jabba. Thinks Toad.

    Practically all doctors are exceptionally decent human beings who have the best interests of their patients at heart.
    And I, for one, can see times when – including for myself – death is the best interest.

    Personally, I do not relish the prospect of becoming even more senile and demented than I currently am – to the point where I can’t tell my wife from a fence post, and am wearing a nappy, drooling, and playing handball with my own ordure.
    At which point I will be very obliged indeed if someone gently kills me.

    Anyone who doesn’t want euthanasia to happen to them should have the right to make it known in advance, and their wishes respected.

    Euthanasia ought to be available for those who freely choose it while they are still compos mentis enough to do so. Naturally, checks and balances are necessary.

    (If you’d accused Thatcher of creating a “secular, atheist Britain,” she would have smacked you in the kisser with her handbag. Quite right too.)


  3. JabbaPapa says:

    Overstating the case a teeny bit, Jabba. Thinks Toad

    WTF !!!!!!

    HOW do you think that it is even POSSIBLE to “overstate” the fact that the senile are being routinely MURDERED, and that this is in the most obscene NuSpeak manner being described as being “Care” ??????!!!???!!??

    Euthanasia ought to be available for those who freely choose it

    Well bloody well put a sodding gun in your mouth then !!!!

    Just don’t pretend that these EVIL ideas need to be supported in any way whatsoever.

    Suicide is Evil

    FFS “overstating” — this is the very FIRST time in my experience of your views in here that you have so completely lost my respect.

    These opinions of yours are utterly and completely obnoxious, and deserving of nothing but CONTEMPT.

    If I were a Pilgrim this year, staying in you establishment, and you were to put forward these ideas to me — I would gather my gear and go and sleep under the Stars instead !!

    I despise you for suggesting acceptance of this horrendous Evil.


  4. JabbaPapa says:

    Oh, and DEMAND a refund !!!


  5. JabbaPapa says:



  6. JabbaPapa says:

    Just don’t pretend that these EVIL ideas need to be supported in any way whatsoever.

    Suicide is Evil

    Oh — but of course, what’s happening at NHS ISN’T “suicide” at all, is it !!!!!

    It’s institutionalised MURDER

    Your support for this EVIL is violently unacceptable.


  7. Toadicide says:

    “Well bloody well put a sodding gun in your mouth then !!!”*

    Tranquilo, Jabba, Tranquilo. I don’t happen to think that “suicide is evil,” certainly not always.
    You apparently do. OK.
    Taking one’s own lifemight often be a bad idea, and people might be better for being talked out of it. Other times not.
    I believe my life is mine to dispose of, until I’m persuaded to the contrary.

    I’m surprised you are this upset.
    You can generally see, and appreciate, alternative points of view.
    Nobody should ever be killed against their wishes. What’s so “evil” about that?

    *Toad does not, and will not, have a gun in his house.
    Anyway, if he did put a gun in his mouth, he’d probably still manage to miss his brain.
    A very small target, to be sure.

    No gun made him a bit of a curiosity in The Land Of The Free.(“Some kind of Commie.”)
    Hemlock, though, would be different.
    But who know how one gets hold of it? The local garden store?
    Socrates’ action was “evil?”


  8. JabbaPapa says:

    I mean, how dare you propose that human life might be so worthless ???

    Your obnoxious hatred of life itself is filled with Evil.


  9. JabbaPapa says:


    I think that anyone who supports the institutionally organised MURDERS of 130.000 people every year is a complete xxxxing xxxx.

    Oh — and that’s just the old people — add the unborn and the toddlers, and well, Auschwitz is just freaking kindergarten in comparison…

    How DARE you make any kind of comment whatsoever purporting to be what people should think ??? !!!

    Several thousand miles separate me from your person — or you’d feel my wrath — an infinity separates your notion of the acceptable from God’s.

    >b>DESPICABLE !!!!!!


  10. Toad says:

    I’m very fond of life, in general. Don’t hate mine in the slightest, far from it. I carpe every diem, and have no intention of leaving any time soon. Honestly.
    I particularly enjoy watching – with fascinated horror – to see what wonderful and spectacular disaster will befall the human race next.
    The collapse of the Euro is looking promising.

    But then, I’m lucky. Always have been. So far.

    Of course I’m not in favour of enforced euthanasia, just the right to die on one’s own terms.
    Nobody else’s. No hatred.
    Supposing someone had thought Stephen Hawking would be better off dead, without asking him?

    But why has this topic hit such a raw nerve with you, Jabba?
    Or shouldn’t I ask?


  11. Toad says:

    God knows what you have to say to get moderated round here.

    Still, free speech is stimulating, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.


  12. JabbaPapa says:

    Your notion of “free speech” involves justifying murder.


  13. JabbaPapa says:

    Toad : God knows what you have to say to get moderated round here.

    I would hope that such evils as you have posted should be moderated away forever.


  14. Toad says:

    Toad takes “murder” to mean killing another person against their will.
    And he doesn’t support that.

    What does Jabba take “murder” to mean?

    (And let’s hope whatever it is, it doesn’t happen to England tonight, figuratively speaking.
    Time for Gertrude’s prayer!))


  15. JabbaPapa says:

    Euthanasia ought to be available for those who freely choose it while they are still compos mentis enough to do so. Naturally, checks and balances are necessary.


    Some should be authorised to murder others.

    OTOH : Thou shalt not kill.

    Yeah — that includes *yourself*


  16. JabbaPapa says:

    You are despicable toad, in your pretensions to discuss the real lives of complete strangers as if mere convenience and/or profit is sufficient motive to have those lives terminated by means of deliberate starvation.

    Your teachings are evil.


  17. Toadballer says:

    Toad has never been presumptious enough to teach anything on CP&S.
    He offers the odd opinion, that’s all.
    And, one of the opinions he offers is that Jabba and he should good-naturedly agree to differ on this apparently incendiary topic; cordially and politely, as is our invariable custom.

    And let’s hope Toad, and all everyone else, won’t be watching the match tonight with fascinated horror!



  18. Toad says:

    So Dear Old Jabba was moderated then? Quietly, sneakily, underhandedly and without announcement?
    Sorry to see that. And why was this done? His comment should have stood as a tribute to his character.
    Shabby, I calls it. (The moderation, that is, not his character, which is patently above reproach.)

    Is his covert censorship a first for CP&S?
    Probably not, but Toad thinks we should be told…

    (England just weren’t good enough.)


  19. kathleen says:

    “I believe my life is mine to dispose of, until I’m persuaded to the contrary.”

    Toad, your life is certainly yours….. but given to you as a gift from God. You may now reject your Catholic heritage, but you will remember the words of the Penny Catechism: “Why did God make you?” Answer: “God made me to know Him, love Him and serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next”.
    That was why we were created. We have free will; we can decide whether or not we shall do this willingly and of our own free choice….. or whether we shall refuse, and follow the Evil One who pronounced “I shall not serve!” There are no two ways about it. Every choice we make, whether for God or against Him, has consequences.

    Euthanasia is a terrible evil, and yes it is murder. It is a way of ‘playing God’ to decide to take away a life that has not yet reached its natural end. Can you not see that?

    How do you not know whether that person in his/her last years of failing health is not making up for past sins or those of others? They might have gone straight to Heaven if they had not been ‘euthanised’ away! Suffering is terrible – no one would deny that – but there are many ways of lessening it nowadays. It can also be cleansing and redemptive, and many people who are undergoing such trials are not unhappy as they take up their Cross and follow Christ. I know (and have known) many such cases.

    You talk of wanting to die if you should lose your mind. But quite honestly, those who do lose their mental faculties, are the ones who are least aware of it! It is harder for their families and carers perhaps, but there again, these people can gain so much merit in the caring for their loved ones.

    Finally, however hard life can become for some, it is no more than a passing flash when faced with Eternity in Paradise….. for which we were made. Who would want to forfeit that?


  20. Toad says:


    Yes, Kathleen, Toad does very well remember the words of the catechism. “God made you to know Him, love Him, and serve Him in this world, and be happy with Him forever in the next..”
    …and Toad also remembers asking, “But how does that apply to babies in Limbo, Father? How can they ever do any of those things? Why did God make them? In fact, why does God make any baby that only lives a few seconds?” And how can a cannibal in Borneo who’s never even heard of Jesus, know Him at all, let alone love Him and serve Him?
    No answer: Apart from, of course, the faithful old standby, “God moves in mysterious etc., etc.,” closely followed by, “Don’t ask so many questions.”.

    But Toad’ll get a satisfactory answer now, for sure.


  21. Toadstruck says:

    “You talk of wanting to die if you should lose your mind. But quite honestly, those who do lose their mental faculties, are the ones who are least aware of it! It is harder for their families and carers perhaps…”

    ..and quite honestly you talk as if we were all silly children, Kathleen. Of course, quite honestly I won’t give a monkey’s when I’m out of my mind, drooling in my cot, and soiling myself – and of course quite honestlymy family will be the ones who suffer. And of course quite honestly I don’t want that to happen – and of course quite honestly, that’s why I’d sooner be dead.

    God help your lot.
    Quite honestly.


  22. kathleen says:

    Dear Toad,
    There you go, trotting down your little green lane again! ‘Limbo’ is not the issue being discussed here (though this topic has come up before more than once), so let’s leave that for another occasion.

    (Sometimes you remind me of the Jehovah Witnesses who sometimes come knocking on my front door. They use the same tactics of changing subject as soon as they think you are getting the upper hand, and in so doing try to lead you all over the place to disorient you and put you on the defensive. Won’t work with K today I’m afraid ;-).)

    Euthanasia (like abortion), is taking away a life, and it is a terrible sin. Forced euthanasia by the NHS, as the article relates, is even more shocking, and it is wicked and evil. It robs a person of their dignity as a human being, and (as I said above) the opportunity for them to offer their suffering for the good of their souls, or other needy ones… ” those who have no one to pray and make sacrifices for them”. (Our Lady’s words to the little seers at Fatima.)

    Your fear of losing your mind, of suffering, of being a burden on your loved ones etc., is absolutely normal. It is a fear many people share….. but the answer is not in killing the person, but in giving a loving, helping accompaniment. (You could be sending that person to Purgatory instead, and all the saints and Holy Scripture tells us that suffering in this life is far preferable to suffering in Purgatory!) Nothing in this world – no suffering – last forever……. but Eternity does!


  23. Toad says:

    Kathleen, you have signally failed, inadvertantly or not, to answer any of the points I made above about how babies who die at birth can “know” Jesus, let alone how, say, a pre-1492 Inca could.
    Well I don’t blame you, but it’s disappointing.

    And the idea that a senile and demented old idiot provides a handy conduit through which his, or her, family can gain extra brownie points with God is – bizarre. In Toad’s humble opinion.

    Then.. “…all the saints and Holy Scripture tell us that suffering in this life is far preferable to suffering in Purgatory.” How do they know that? Somebody else told them. And so on.
    Furthermore Limbo is an issue here, because I choose to make it so.
    And yes it comes up from time to time, and is never resolved.

    (And do you know that Spaniards will tell you for a fact there’s at least one animal in Purgatory?)


  24. kathleen says:

    I am genuinely sorry that you think I talk as though you (and others) are ‘silly children‘ Toad. If that’s how I come across, I’d do better shutting up. But some of your remarks are just so childish, I suppose my replies might also appear sort of ‘school-mistressy’!

    Furthermore Limbo is an issue here, because I choose to make it so.”
    (Toad getting bolshie here perhaps? ;-))
    Well, it’s not that I wanted to skip the Limbo argument, but it’s practically impossible in one comment to cover all the issues you bring into the debates.

    So let’s discuss Limbo (Limbus infantium), or the reason why some, like tiny unbaptised babies, have no chance whatsoever to be able ‘to know, love or serve God‘ before leaving this world. How are they judged? To begin with, Limbo was never a ‘doctrine‘ of the Catholic Church; theologians say it was no more than a ‘hypothesis‘, to try to solve this dilemma.
    Better to use more erudite words of explanation, rather than my own.

    From the CNS:
    “In the 1985 book-length interview, “The Ratzinger Report,” the future Pope Benedict said, “Limbo was never a defined truth of faith. Personally — and here I am speaking more as a theologian and not as prefect of the congregation — I would abandon it, since it was only a theological hypothesis.
    “It formed part of a secondary thesis in support of a truth which is absolutely of first significance for faith, namely, the importance of baptism,” he said.
    In “God and the World,” published in 2000, he said limbo had been used “to justify the necessity of baptizing infants as early as possible” to ensure that they had the “sanctifying grace” needed to wash away the effects of original sin.
    While limbo was allowed to disappear from the scene, the future pope said, Pope John Paul’s teaching in the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” and the encyclical “The Gospel of Life” took “a decisive turn.”
    Without theological fanfare, Pope John Paul “expressed the simple hope that God is powerful enough to draw to himself all those who were unable to receive the sacrament,” the then-cardinal said
    .” (Full article: http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0506867.htm )

    From the Catholic Encyclopedia:
    “The New Testament contains no definite statement of a positive kind regarding the lot of those who die in original sin without being burdened with grievous personal guilt. But, by insisting on the absolute necessity of being “born again of water and the Holy Ghost” (John 3:5) for entry into the kingdom of Heaven (see BAPTISM, subtitle Necessity of Baptism), Christ clearly enough implies that men are born into this world in a state of sin, and St. Paul’s teaching to the same effect is quite explicit (Romans 5:12 sqq.). On the other hand, it is clear from Scripture and Catholic tradition that the means of regeneration provided for this life do not remain available after death, so that those dying unregenerate are eternally excluded from the supernatural happiness of the beatific vision (John 9:4, Luke 12:40, 16:19 sqq., 2 Corinthians 5:10; see also APOCATASTASIS). The question therefore arises as to what, in the absence of a clear positive revelation on the subject, we ought in conformity with Catholic principles to believe regarding the eternal lot of such persons. Now it may confidently be said that, as the result of centuries of speculation on the subject, we ought to believe that these souls enjoy and will eternally enjoy a state of perfect natural happiness; and this is what Catholics usually mean when they speak of the limbus infantium, the “children’s limbo“.”

    Does this help? Of course, you could just as easily have done a bit of googling to find this out yourself, but to be controversial is all part of being Toad, eh?


  25. Toad says:

    Does this help? …Asks Kathleen. Not in the slightest.

    Sounds like a giant U-Turn and whitewash job to the “controversial” Toad. (Insert smiley face.) For example..
    “The question therefore arises as to what, in the absence of a clear positive revelation on the subject, we ought in conformity with Catholic principles to believe…”

    Which Toad interprets as, “Nobody’s got a bloody clue, so let’s just make up something suitable.” Of course his interpretation might be wrong.


  26. kathleen says:

    A ‘clue‘ we do have (for we know God to be Love, Mercy and Justice), but ‘certainty‘ on this particular issue….. well, no!
    That does not mean we have no ‘certainties‘ – not at all – we have plenty, thanks to Our Lord Jesus Christ, Revelation and the Truth revealed through the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.


  27. Toad says:

    “..we know God to be Love, Mercy and Justice..·”

    Not sure who “we “is, (Muslims? Incas?) but anyway, how do we know that God is these things?

    By looking at the world around us? From His works? His typhoid, His earthquakes? His malarial mosquitos?

    Toad thinks not.
    And so we go. Round and round.


  28. JabbaPapa says:

    I should certainly not have lost my temper so badly, for which I apologise — Toad however fails to realise that kathleen’s descriptions of his comments as childish are perfectly accurate.

    I can still consciously remember wondering about this sort of inevitable mortality thing when I was six.

    Toad isn’t making any valid philosophical points — because he still struggles with his philosophical ABC.

    (as, sadly, does Joe Public, the “modern” man on the street)

    The immature notion that “I will only believe what I can understand” is based on the false childish notion that “if you can’t prove it then I won’t believe you” — which is a direct falsehood, because what one knows and understands is ENTIRELY DIFFERENT to what one believes.

    And don’t trot out the bloody stupid atheist cliché about how atheists only believe what they know — because it’s blatantly false, and an insult to the intellect.


  29. Toad says:

    Good to hear from you again, Jabba.
    Toad was a bit worried that you might have committed suicide.
    Yes, Toad is childish.
    So now we can concentrate on SSPX, and that XXXX Williamson!


  30. Toad says:

    “And don’t trot out the bloody stupid atheist cliché about how atheists only believe what they know — because it’s blatantly false, and an insult to the intellect.”

    Oh, all right, then. Jabba.

    (But I wasn’t xxxxxxg well going to, anyway. Your intellect will remain uninsulted)


  31. JabbaPapa says:

    Just as long as you don’t start claiming that 130,000 isn’t a high enough target, and that “hospital” managers should be providing better turnover per employee in order to meet the national targets.


  32. JabbaPapa says:

    “productivity” ones, natch


  33. Brother Burrito says:

    Sorry to be so late to this party.

    As somebody whose bread and butter is care of the critically ill and dying, may I offer some opinion.

    The people providing healthcare are of the same background as the population they serve. In the UK, this means, mostly, Godless Unschooled Yobbos.

    The GUYs are clueless on most serious matters, except the cut and thrust of wealth generation, and so they invent guidelines to remove thinking from the workplace. The LCP is just such.

    Care requires eternal vigilance, and creative problem solving, both of which are hard work, and beyond the unGraced.

    Ultimately, healthcare has to be de-industrialised, and given back to the mendicants.


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