Neuberger ‘backdoor euthanasia’ inquiry

Baroness Neuberger: concerned with end-of-life care in Britain (Photo: Getty Images)

Baroness Neuberger: concerned with end-of-life care in Britain (Photo: Getty Images)

Baroness Julia Neuberger, rabbi of West London Synagogue, is to chair the review of the controversial palliative care method known as the Liverpool Care Pathway.

The Liverpool Care Pathway is a checklist for medical professionals to assist patients to a humane and pain-free death, developed over 10 years ago by pain-care specialists in Liverpool.

What was devised as a method to reduce suffering has been termed “backdoor euthanasia” and has caused controversy among religious leaders because of claims that it often leads to an early death.

Baroness Neuberger said she was delighted to be doing the review. She said: “It’s an area of life-long interest.”

From 1997 to 2004 she was chief executive of the King’s Fund, a charity that works to improve UK health and healthcare. She is also a patron of the North London Hospice in Finchley.

Baroness Neuberger said her interest in palliative care came partly from her hospice work and partly from her role as a pastoral rabbi.

She said: “I’m passionately interested in how we deal with end-of-life care in this country.”

Eve Richardson, chief executive of the National Council for Palliative Care and the Dying Matters Coalition, said: “There is a real need to ensure everyone receives excellent care at the end of life. We want to take people’s fear away from dying and from the care they may receive in their final days, and we want far more open communication”.

Last updated: 1:45pm, January 17 2013