'Shocking examples' of older and vulnerable people pressured into signing do not resuscitate forms

Concerns have been raised over "shocking examples where blanket decisions" are being made about the care and treatment of older and vulnerable people "who have felt pressurised into signing" do not CPR forms.

The concerns were raised in a joint statement from a coalition of charities, signed by Wales' Older People's Commissioner, Heléna Herklots and Age Cymru Chief Executive, Victoria Lloyd.

It describes a "shameful and unacceptable" situation where older and vulnerable people are made to feel like "their lives and wishes do not matter."

It calls on the governments of all four home nations to "ensure that people’s rights are upheld" and that "communication with vulnerable people is handled in a far more sensitive way."

The joint statement was issued on behalf of the following:

  • Heléna Herklots, Older People’s Commissioner for Wales

  • Victoria Lloyd, Chief Executive Age Cymru

  • Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director Age UK

  • Deborah Alsina, Chief Executive Independent Age

  • Jane Ashcroft, Chief Executive Anchor Hanover

  • Eddie Lynch, Commissioner for Older People in Northern Ireland

  • Donald Macaskill, Chief Executive Care Scotland

  • Linda Robinson, Chief Executive Age Northern Ireland

  • Brian Sloan, Chief Executive Age Scotland

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 was criticised after it asked patients with "significant life-limiting illnesses" to sign a 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.

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."

A Nice spokesman said: "We agree that whether or not to sign a DNA-CPR form is an individual's decision, and they have a right to make that decision without feeling pressurised.

"Our Covid-19 rapid guideline on symptom management in the community is very clear in saying that, when possible, the risks, benefits and possible likely outcomes of the treatment options should be discussed with patients, and their families and carers, so that they can express their own preferences about their treatment and escalation plans.

"For patients with pre-existing advanced comorbidities, it also says that if people have existing advance care plans or advance decisions to refuse treatment, including do not attempt resuscitation decisions, this should be documented clearly and taken into account when planning care."