Christian People's Alliance calls for inquiry into hospital treatment of older people

 The treatment of older people in hospitals must be investigated by the NHS, say campaigners for the Christian Peoples Alliance. The party says that latest warnings by experts caring for the terminally ill that NHS patients are dying prematurely cannot be ignored.

CPA spokeswoman, Maria Overend from St Helens, said the latest report added to evidence of elder abuse in public services: "The departure by large parts of the caring services from the Christian and Hippocratic principle of "doing no harm" has led to euthanasia and assisted suicide of older people. Every person - no matter their age or severity of medical diagnosis - deserves respect and treatment for their condition, without fear of being killed. This sinister and creeping development will not pass us by and as Christian Democrats we will contest the practise and restore dignity and compassion to the health service."

Last Thursday, six medics wrote to the Daily Telegraph saying that current advice which allows drugs, food and liquids to be withdrawn from a dying patient could mask signs of improvement.  The Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) was drawn up by Marie Curie to reduce suffering for dying patients and is now used in hundreds of hospitals and care homes in England.

The six experts say that "forecasting death is an inexact science" and that decisions are made that some patients are close to death "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."

Maria Overend, who stood in June for the European Parliament, added: "The CPA totally opposes the designation of food and liquids as 'medical treatment'. It isn't a surprise to hear about the devastating consequences of this policy on the individuals and families concerned. The policy has to now be reviewed and all intentional killing repudiated. "

Last month, the Patients Association drew attention to the poor treatment of elderly people in some parts of the NHS. The Christian Peoples Alliance wants an Advocate for Older People in the NHS to tackle elder abuse, deliberate acts leading to death or neglect of older people in health and social service centres. It will make dignity of older people a priority ahead of the coming General Election. The party also sees a case for  repealing or amending the Mental Capacity Act (2005) - which enshrined  into law the Bland judgement that allows euthanasia by neglect.

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