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Improving care of the dying adult: the great challenge to which we all must rise
  1. Stephen J Fenning1 and
  2. Peter G Hanlon2
  1. 1Department of Palliative Medicine, Victoria Hospice, Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy, Scotland, UK
  2. 2General Practice Vocational Training Scheme, NHS Forth Valley, Larbert, Scotland, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Stephen J Fenning, Victoria Hospice, Victoria Hospital, Hayfield Road, Kirkcaldy, Scotland KY2 5AH, UK; sj.fenning{at}btinternet.com

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We read with interest the systematic review by Gent et al,1 recently published in this journal, exploring the attitudes and knowledge around clinically assisted hydration in the last days to hours of life. Set against the backdrop of the recently released National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Guideline for Care of the Dying Adult, this work is an effective and timely illustration of the clinical and cultural complexity of providing care to, and making decisions with, patients and their families at the end of life.

In view of this complexity, it is perhaps unsurprising that the aforementioned new NICE Guideline (seen as the replacement to the Liverpool Care Pathway following the Neuberger Report) has itself been subject to fierce criticism. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Professor Patrick Pullicino2 was one …

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