THE controversial Liverpool Care Pathway was "never about hastening death", the co-creator of the end-of-life regime has insisted.

Palliative care nurse Deborah Murphy, who helped develop the care "pathway" for terminally ill patients in the 1990s, said the real purpose for the LCP was to make dying patients "as comfortable as possible".

She slammed the "media-driven" decision to scrap it.

While she admitted that she was shocked by some of the patients' stories highlighted in a recent review of the regime, she told the Nursing Standard: "It was never about hastening death or postponing death or about withdrawing treatment – these were myths."

The real purpose of the LCP – which recommends that in some circumstances doctors withdraw treatment, food and water from sedated patients in their final hours or days – was about "planning care in advance so dying patients can be made as comfortable as possible," she added. "But a plan like that is only as good as the people using it."

Last week, health officials ordered a complete overhaul of care for terminally ill patients after the independent review found doctors used the LCP "as an excuse for poor-quality care".

They said that the LCP should be scrapped and replaced with personalised end-of-life care plans.

The review panel, chaired by crossbench peer Baroness Julia Neuberger, said they were "shocked" and "upset" at cases of appalling care.

Baroness Neuberger, who wrote the review, said: "Caring for the dying must never again be practised as a tick-box exercise, and each patient must be cared for according to their individual needs and preferences.

"Ultimately it is the way the LCP has been misused and misunderstood that has led to such great problems, along with it being simply too generic in its approach for the needs of some. Sadly, it is just too late to turn the clock back to get it used properly by everybody.

"That is why we have recommended phasing out the LCP and replacing it with a more personalised and clinically sensitive approach."