Toyah Willcox heartbreaking story of her beloved mum

Toyah Willcox: Doctors put my mother on ‘death pathway’ without telling me

Toyah Willcox, the singer and actress, has spoken of her shock at learning that doctors had placed her elderly mother on the controversial Liverpool Care Pathway.

Toyah Willcox, the singer and actress Photo: ROGER TAYLOR

7:09AM GMT 25 Mar 2013

Miss Willcox said she was not consulted about the decision to withdraw life–saving treatment.

She said she overheard a nurse tell her 81-year-old mother: “It’s all right Barbara, the end is near.”

The singer said she had wanted to support her mother when she was told she was being put on the Liverpool Care Pathway, which involves withdrawing invasive treatments or tests from patients in their final days and hours in order to ease their suffering.

Her mother, who had been suffering from cancer, died in her sleep in September 2011, a week after being admitted to St Richard’s Hospice in Worcester.

Miss Willcox told the Daily Mail: “For me it was not something I wanted my mother to be told about without me being there to support her.

“I was not asked or referred to about her last days, so the decision to put her on the LCP was not one I was party to.

“What unsettles me about the Liverpool Care Pathway is that my mother was told about it whilst she was alone. I shed tears thinking how fearful she must have been at that moment.”

The singer said she had a complicated relationship with her mother, but they were finally able to bond when she nursed her for the last two years of her life.

“When she was unconscious I said a lot of what I wanted to say and I’m sure she could hear me. It was the only time I could tell her I loved her. I could never say that to her when she was awake because she wouldn’t have it,” she said.

Doctors have hailed the Liverpool Care Pathway as a means of giving dignity and comfort to dying people but it has been mired in controversy amid claims that it may have hastened death or been used on people who were not imminently dying.

It can involve taking away food and fluids along with giving patients powerful pain relief.

A spokesman for St Richard’s Hospice told the Daily Mail: “We have not received any comments from family members directly and we do not comment on individual cases.

“We support the appropriate use of the Liverpool Care Pathway and make it clear that it is not in any way about ending life, but rather about supporting the delivery of excellent end-of-life care.”