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Policies and Guidelines

End of life issues

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We list here some of the policies and guidelines that are published by the British Medical Association, General Medical Council and the Department of Health.

British Medical Association (BMA)

Withholding and withdrawing life-prolonging medical treatment: guidance for decision making. 3rd Edition, BMA 2007

  • Defining key terms and concepts
  • Legal and ethical considerations that apply to all decisions to withhold and withdrawer treatment
  • Medical considerations that apply to all decisions to withhold or withdraw treatment
  • Decision making by adults with capacity
  • Decision making on behalf of adults who lack capacity
  • Decision making by young people with capacity
  • Decision making for children and young people who lack capacity
  • Once a decision has been reached

Decisions Relating to Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, BMA October 2007
This report is a PDF file available for download:

  • Advance care planning
  • Non-discrimination
  • Human Rights act 1988
  • Presumption in favour of CPR when there is no DNAR decision
  • Clinical decisions not to attempt CPR
  • Decisions about CPR that are based on benefits and burdens
  • Refusals of CPR by adults with capacity
  • Adults that lack capacity
  • Children and young people
  • Confidentiality
  • Information for patients
  • Responsibility for decision-making
  • Competent / Incapacitated adults
  • Recording decisions
  • Communicating decisions to other health care providers
  • Review
  • Standards, audit and training

End of life decisions - BMA

  • Treatment decisions for patients in persistent vegetative state
  • Withholding and withdrawing life-prolonging medical treatment
  • End-of-Life decisions:BMA views
  • Euthanasia and physician assisted suicide-do the moral arguments differ
  • Assisted dying
  • Withdrawing and with holding artificial nutrition and hydration
  • New Cremation (amendment) Regulations 2006
  • Treatment decisions for patients in persistent vegetative state, BMA revised June 1996
  • Defining PVS
  • Diagnosis
  • Review of treatment options
  • The views of the patient
  • The views of people close to the patient
  • Views of health professionals
  • Conscientious objection
  • The legal position

BMA assisted dying debate

  • Current BMA Policy
  • Briefing paper
  • Recording of debate

General Medical Council (GMC)

Withholding and withdrawing Life-prolonging Treatments: Good Practice in Decision-making, GMC

  • Guiding principles
  • Good practice framework
  • Areas for special consideration

Department of Health (DoH)

Human Tissue Act Information

Information on the 2004 Human Tissue Act with links to the Act and associated documents

Mental Capacity Act

Advance refusals of treatment

Lasting power of attorney

NHS Scotland DNACPR Policy Document