A GP has sparked controversy after asking high-risk patients if they want to refuse life-saving hospital treatment for coronavirus to die at home.
Dr Andy Knox has denied trying to "coerce" people into choosing if they want to die if they get struck down by the killer virus.
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He instead insists he is being "upfront and honest" by asking Brits whether they want to spend their final days at home or in the hospital.
The medic – director of population health for Morecambe Bay, Lancs, has also urged them to think whether doctors should attempt to resuscitate them.
Making a direct appeal to higher-risk patients in a YouTube video posted to his website, ReimaginingHealth.com, Dr Knox said: "We’re not trying to coerce you into any decision. We’re not trying to withhold anything from you.
"We just want to have a really honest, upfront conversation with you about what’s important to you in your care."
The doctor made the comments as he claimed GPs will be contacting higher-risk patients – including the elderly – in the coming weeks about "care planning".
The term is used to refer to palliative care situations where doctors try to improve quality of life for patients with life-threatening illnesses in order to reduce their suffering.
Dr Knox also urged vulnerable patients to think about their wills, arrange Power of Attorney and attend to any "spiritual or religious beliefs" that may need sorting.
He added: "Perhaps that there are conversations that you need to have or old hurts that need to be forgiven; things that need to be put right.
"No-one wants to have difficult conversations, but actually if we don’t have them, often it makes it much harder for the people we leave behind."
The doctor has divided critics with his frank advice – with some arguing Dr Knox should be sacked, and others praising him.
Morecambe MP David Morris said: "This film is highly irresponsible because it gives the impression that if people get coronavirus they should not fight it, just accept their fate."
While Lancashire county councillor Charles Edwards said a "high risk" local had told him they "felt suicidal" after watching the clip.
He said: "They thought it was saying that if they get the virus they will be a burden to the NHS and forfeit a hospital bed."
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But others are said to have praised the GP for "allowing people to make an informed decision for themselves rather than have the decision made for them".
It comes after doctors said every Brit should discuss death plans with relatives in case they get seriously ill with coronavirus.
Palliative care doctors are urging everyone to have a conversation with their loved ones about what they would want if they, or those close to them, became seriously unwell with Covid-19.
According to reports, new guidelines are being produced for end of life care for coronavirus patients.
It comes as the UK coronavirus death toll rose by 569 today to 2,961 people – including 44 with no underlying health conditions.
Positive cases for the deadly disease in the UK have also risen to 33,718 – up 4,244 from yesterday.
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