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Apology after patients with life-limiting illnesses asked to sign 'do not resuscitate' form if they get coronavirus

Llynfi Surgery, Maesteg, wrote to patients with 'significant life-limiting illnesses' asking to complete a 'do not attempt CPR' form for them.

A GP surgery in Maesteg has asked patients with "significant life-limiting illnesses" to sign a DNACPR (do not attempt CPR) form in the case they contract coronavirus.

Llynfi Surgery on Llynfi Road sent a letter to patients with health conditions such as incurable cancer, motor neurone disease, and untreatable heart and lung conditions.

It told those patients they are "unlikely to be offered hospital admission" if they become unwell with the virus and "certainly will not be offered a ventilator bed".

It comes after UK Government calls to boost the number of vital ventilators need to treat coronavirus patients.

The Prime Minister has been urging businesses to ramp up production of the life-saving machines which are currently desperately lacking in the UK. Credit: PA Images

A total of 98 people have died in Wales after contracting the virus, with the number of confirmed cases standing at 1,837 as of 1 April.

One patient who received the letter said, "It not only greatly upset me but my family and close friends.

"It was like having my death warrant being sent by the grim reaper. It made me feel worthless.

"I've lived with cancer for eight years and I want to live another couple of years. I'm not digging my grave yet."

The letter opened with 'this is a very difficult letter for the practice to write to you'.

The surgery opened the letter by writing "this is a very difficult letter for the practice to write to you".

It listed the benefits of signing a DNACPR as:

  • Your GP and more importantly your friends and family will know not to
  • call 999
  • Scarce ambulance resources can be targeted to the young and fit who
  • have chance of surviving the infection
  • You reduce the risk of transmitting virus to friends, family and emergency responders from CPR

The letter said "in an ideal situation" the conversation would be had in person but said this posed a risk of GPs catching the virus.

The final line reads: "We will not abandon you but we need to be frank and realistic about what the next few months holds for all of us."

A spokesperson for Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board apologised for any distress caused.

In a statement, they said, " A letter was recently sent out from Llynfi Surgery to a small number of patients. We have been made aware that the letter has caused upset to some of the patients who received it.

"This was not the intent and the surgery apologise for any distress caused. Staff at the surgery are speaking to those patients who received the letter to apologise directly and answer any concerns they may have."

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know