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What some health workers wanted to prevent: a vulnerable elderly person using a ventilator while being treated for coronavirus.

This is a step in the right direction.

GP surgeries in south Wales and Brighton have both been reported to have issued letters telling multiple patients that their health conditions make them unlikely to be treated with a ventilator if they contract the coronavirus.

The letters advise that patients sign “Do Not Attempt Resuscitation” orders – in effect, their own death warrants.

But now, England’s chief nurse Ruth May and NHS England’s medical director Stephen Powis have told hospitals, GPs and NHS managers not to issue such letters.

This Site has already reported on a statement by the British Medical Association, Care Quality Commission and others, warning that blanket approaches are wrong.

And the Independent reports (see below) that legal advice shows such an approach would be unlawful.

The joint letter states: “The NHS constitution is clear that we should deliver care and support in a way that achieves dignity and compassion for each and every person we serve. We should be cognisant of the principle of equity of access for those who could benefit from treatment escalation, and the principle of support for autonomy for those who want to be involved in decisions.

“Even under pressure we strive for the delivery of personalised care and high standards of patient experience.”

So that’s that – we should hope.

Anybody who persists in foisting such alternative death warrants on vulnerable people should face the force of the law from now on.

Source: Coronavirus: England’s chief nurse and top doctor warn hospitals and GPs against imposing blanket do not resuscitate orders | The Independent

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