Somerset

Coronavirus: Autistic support group 'told it needed DNR orders'

Somerset CCG offices Image copyright Google
Image caption Somerset CCG has said it is investigating the matter

A GP surgery which said autistic adults should have plans to prevent them being resuscitated if they become critically ill has been criticised.

Voyage Care, which cares for the group, was sent the letter by a surgery in Somerset amid the coronavirus crisis.

On Twitter, the firm's boss Andrew Cannon said there had been "no consultation with families" and most involved were "working age adults".

Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has declined to name the surgery.

It said it was investigating the matter.

The paperwork is known as a "do not resuscitate" (DNR) order or an advanced care plan.

It is sometimes used if someone is nearing the end of their life or have a complex medical condition.

The paperwork is usually drawn up by medical professionals with the co-operation of the patient in question, if they have capacity to do so, or with their family.

The Somerset Local Medical Committee, which represents all GP practices in the county, said the letter had been withdrawn.

The CCG was alerted by the Somerset Parent Carer Forum.

A forum spokesman said: "We have reported our concerns to Somerset CCG that this has happened with our area and they are taking this matter very seriously.

"The CCG are investigating the reports that have been made and have assured us they will take appropriate action. Please do let us know if you come across this."

Similar cases happened last week in Brighton and south Wales, as health and social carers respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

A number of organisations, including NHS England and the British Medical Association, have issued guidance in recent days to say blanket DNRs - covering all the people at one setting - are "unacceptable" and all decisions must been made on an individual basis.

They also say a learning disability, autism or stable long-term disability like cerebral palsy, are not in themselves ever reasons for a DNR.

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