Select location
Membership information
0800 561 9000
Medicolegal advice
0800 561 9090
Menu
Refine my search

Withdrawing treatment: the legal position

Post date: 10/05/2019 | Time to read article: 1 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 10/05/2019

In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that healthcare professionals across the UK no longer need to seek legal permission to withdraw treatment from patients in a permanent vegetative state.

The judgment in the case of NHS Trust v Y [2018] UKSC 46 ruled that when families and doctors are in agreement and believe it is in the patient’s best interests, Court of Protection approval is no longer required before withdrawing clinically assisted nutrition and hydration (CANH) in a patient with a prolonged disorder of consciousness (such as persistent vegetative state or minimally conscious state), even though the withdrawal will result in the death of the patient.

In its judgment, the Supreme Court placed emphasis on the importance of referring to relevant professional guidance when making decisions regarding life sustaining treatment, singling out GMC guidance, such as Treatment and Care Towards the End of Life.

The Court referred to the guidance that a second opinion should be sought from an independent clinician who should reach their own conclusion on whether CANH should be withheld.

Share this article

Share
Load more reviews
Rating

You've already submitted a review for this item

|
New site feature tour

Introducing an improved
online experience

You'll notice a few things have changed on our website. After asking our members what they want in an online platform, we've made it easier to access our membership benefits and created a more personalised user experience.

Why not take our quick 60-second tour? We'll show you how it all works and it should only take a minute.

Take the tour Continue to site

Medicolegal advice
0800 561 9090
Membership information
0800 561 9000

Key contact details

Should you need to contact us, our phone numbers are always visible.

Personalise your search

We'll save your profession in the "I am a..." dropdown filter for next time.

Tour completed

Now you've seen all of the updated features, it's time for you to try them out.

Continue to site
Take again