OLDER people are feeling pressured into signing "Do Not Attempt CPR" forms as the coronavirus pandemic continues, charities have warned.

Age UK and Independent Age are among the charities who said they were hearing "shocking examples" of blanket decisions being made about the care of older people.

Describing two recent cases, the charities said an 85-year-old woman was left "mortified and extremely upset" after receiving a phone call from her GP asking if she would sign a 'DNR' form - if she developed COVID-19.

Meanwhile they said an 80-year-old man, with mobility problems, was 'unexpectedly' contacted by his GP about whether he wanted hospital treatement if he contracted the virus.

Describing the reports as "shameful and unacceptable," the charities said many of those who have been affected said they felt as though "their lives and wishes" did not matter as they called for action.

The joint statement made up of nine signatories included Caroline Abrahams director of Age UK, Deborah Alsina chief executive of Independent Age, Donald Macaskill chief executive of Scottish Care, and the Commissioners for Older People in Wales and Northern Ireland.

'They have the right to make that decision'

Together they said: "Difficult and painful decisions will need to be made in the weeks ahead, but these must be made on a case-by-case basis, taking account of the risks and benefits, and people's own wishes, through honest discussions between patients, doctors and families.

"Whether or not to sign a 'do not attempt CPR' form is an individual's decision, and they have a right to make that decision without feeling pressurised.

"We do not underestimate the significant pressures being faced by all staff working across our health and social care sectors at this difficult time, but it is crucial that we continue to protect people's fundamental human rights.

"It would be completely unacceptable to abandon these rights in favour of taking blanket, discriminatory decisions."

They union of charities said they were now calling for stronger leadership across the UK to avoid "further worry and upset" during the coming months.