You are here: HomeEthical IssuesEnd of Life Decisions → Professional guidance

Ethical Issues - End of life decisions

Professional guidance

Various professional bodies, including the BMA and GMC, have issued guidance on end of life issues.

General Medical Council
The GMC published new guidance Treatment and care towards the end of life in 2010.
The publication followed extensive public consultation and provides advice on a range of issues relating to end of life care including frameworks for decision making for people who have capacity and those who do not, the role of families, working in teams, dealing with uncertainty, emotional issues and resource constraints. The principles underpinning the guidance are set out in paragraphs 7-13.

British Medical Association
The BMA has a range of publications on issues related to end of life decision making which can be found on the ethics page of its website. A Parliamentary brief from the BMA summarising their views on end of life decisions. The guidance covers three main areas:

  • contemporaneous and advance refusal of treatment
  • withholding and withdrawing life-prolonging medical treatment
  • assisted dying - euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The guidance summarises some of the BMA’s other guidance in this area.

The BMA has also published guidance on cardiopulmonary resuscitation in collaboration with the UK Resuscitation Council and the Royal College of Nursing.
Decisions relating to cardiopulmonary resuscitation (2007)

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
The RCPCH sets out a framework for decision making and identifies ethical issues arising in decisions to withhold or withdraw treatment from children.
Good Medical Practice in Paediatrics and Child Health, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (2002)