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NPC calls for urgent inquiry into ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ policy

Updated: Sep 3, 2020

The National Pensioners’ Convention is calling for an urgent inquiry after a new report revealed some care home staff were told to put blanket Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders on residents at the height of the pandemic.

The NPC, the UK’s largest campaigning group for older people is shocked by the findings of a survey published today (24 August 2020)* by the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) on the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the UK’s nursing and residential homes.

NPC General Secretary Jan Shortt will be writing to the report’s author, Professor Alison Leary, MBE, Director of the ICNO and Professor of Healthcare and Workforce Modelling at London South Bank University, and QNI Chief Executive Dr Crystal Oldman, CBE, to support their call for an inquiry.

The NPC will also be contacting Health Secretary Matt Hancock to ask that he launch an immediate investigation into the findings.

Jan Shortt said: “The findings of this survey prove what the NPC has long suspected – that our oldest and most vulnerable were merely seen as collateral damage rather than as human beings by senior NHS executives at the height of the pandemic.

“Care home staff were already under tremendous pressure to save the lives of their residents. To then try and force them to put blanket DNR orders on patients is appalling. There must be an inquiry into what happened in our care homes and NHS Trusts before the onset of winter, when there is a real risk that a rise in Covid-19 cases puts even more lives at risk.”

NPC Vice President Peter Rayner, 86, added, “It is shocking at my age to realise that only luck stands between me and having a DNR sign hung over my bed! It shows that any person my age is at risk of institutionalised destruction of our Human Rights in a numbers game being played by trust executives and managers.”

*The report by the Queen’s Nursing Institute states that one in 10 care home staff surveyed were told to change DNR plans without discussion with families, nursing staff or residents themselves. A fifth reported receiving residents from hospital who had tested positive for Covid-19, even though they did not always have appropriate Personal Protective Equipment to care for them. Staff also warned that some hospitals were operating a “no admissions” policy for care home residents – even for non-Covid conditions such as heart attacks – and some said they had struggled to make appointments with GP’s for elderly people.


*The National Pensioners Convention was set up in 1979 to champion the rights and welfare of the UK’s older people. It now represents more than 1.5 million people in over 1,000 different organisations across the UK and holds an Annual Convention – a pensioners’ parliament - to debate issues affecting older people.

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