British doctors support Appeal Court ruling on end of life guidance

The British Medical Association (BMA) is supporting today's Appeal Court Ruling on the GMC's guidance: 'Withholding and withdrawing life-prolonging treatment: good practice in decision-making'.

The GMC's guidance was successfully challenged by Mr Oliver Leslie Burke in 2004 and the Association was concerned that, as a result, some crucial aspects of the law were unclear.

Dr Vivienne Nathanson, the BMA's Head of Ethics and Science, said today:

"We supported the GMC's decision to appeal against the High Court's ruling and we welcome today's decision by the Court of Appeal. We hope the judgment will help patients, their families and doctors understand good practice and decision-making in this area.

"A decision about when to curtail active interventions for people who are dying or seriously ill is one of the hardest choices that patients, families and doctors make. It is absolutely essential for all involved that the law and professional guidance is clear. We very much welcome the clarification provided by today's judgment."

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