A furious woman says her elderly mother was persuaded by a GP into agreeing that if she falls ill with Covid-19 she would not call an ambulance - and simply die at home.

Maggie Ilsley issued a warning to others in a scathing post online - adding that the ordeal had left her "sickened beyond words".

She said her mother Margaret Emerson, 74, from Yate, had been contacted by her doctor out of the blue last week and taken through a questionnaire.

But it wasn't until the end she realised she had just agreed to waive emergency treatment if she contracted Covid-19 and "die at home" instead.

Mrs Emerson already suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) so has been classed as vulnerable and is self-isolating.

Daughter Maggie claims that the decision was framed for her mother as a choice between dying alone in hospital or at home.

She added that it was also unclear whether Mrs Emerson had "signed her life away regardless" - asking if an ambulance would arrive for a non-coronavirus incident.

The call was placed by her mother's doctor at a surgery in Yate.

She said: "She had no warning about the call, and no idea what it was really about until it began to dawn on her from the questions the doctor was asking her.

"It was about what kind of care would she receive, and she signed that she's not going to have an ambulance called out.

"It was framed for her as a choice between dying alone in hospital, or dying at home with her family there."

"Why are our GPs phoning our elderly vulnerable loved ones unannounced with absolutely no forewarning, no time to think, no time to talk things through with loved ones, no breathing space to make sure they understand the implications of what they're being asked..with a list of questions aimed at them going on record there and then to refuse treatment and even an ambulance in the event they get Covid-19?

"How can that be morally right and allowed to happen?! What has our society come to?

"Has she just been asked to sign her life away, die at home in isolation, regardless?! I don't know how I'm going to sleep tonight.

"Our vulnerable need protecting now! This is beyond scandalous.

"[My mum] has COPD and heart disease but has been living with these conditions for almost 20 years.

"She does not have or require home oxygen and manages her condition with medication. She lives alone and is totally independent.

"She's following guidelines and is living in self isolation. She's the rock that holds our family together. You will never meet such a selfless woman."

Authorities have said health workers should not be using coronavirus as an excuse to ask vulnerable patients if they would like treatment.

Speaking last week (Fri) at the daily Downing Street press conference, chief nurse Ruth May said: "My clinical colleagues have these discussions all the time with patients and their families.

"Thinking about their wishes, thinking about what care they have planned - and that's right and proper.

"But Covid-19 should not be used as an excuse to do that quite separately."

Maggie said: "She was in such shock, having that call and not understanding what it was about. She went into shock on the phone.

"The realisation came after - it made her ill.

"The whole call was driven by the fact that they wanted to keep people from hospital - in other words, not giving them another chance.

"Vulnerable people need protecting - not phone calls about ending their life. Often there's no one there to look after them or hold their hand. She lives alone.

"My mum received the letter [sent by the authorities to at risk patients]. Not once does it mention getting end of life calls. That's why it's so shocking."

Maggie, from Bristol, said her mother called back the next day to change the decisions she had made.

She added: "She chased them and was told she could change it at any time. She has now changed everything."

A spokesperson for Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG - the group covering Mrs Emerson's surgery - issued a statement today (Tuesday).

They said: "We are very sorry to hear about this patient's experience, and we are following up with the practice.

"In the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire area we use the nationally developed ReSPECT process to guide informed discussion about people's choices and preferences in the event of a medical emergency.

"Given the current covid-19 situation, it's important that as far as possible we understand people's wishes in relation to treatment, in advance of people becoming unwell.

"However, ReSPECT discussions should take place in a compassionate and sensitive way, that allow people and their families to reflect on their options and have their concerns listened to.

"It's also important to make clear that ReSPECT is not a binding document. It is a record of someone's feelings at the time the discussion took place, and should be a starting point to help clinicians, patients and families to make decisions about effective treatment in an emergency."