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08-07-2010 | General practice | Article

GMC updates end of life care guide


GMC Ethical Guidance – Treatment and care towards the end of life: good practice in decision making.

The General Medical Council (GMC) has published updated guidance on the treatment and care of patients coming to the end of life.

The guidance replaces previous advice on withholding and withdrawing life-prolonging treatments, while expanding on the guidance Consent, patients and doctors making decisions together.

This sets out principles for making clinical decisions and provides a framework for good practice in treating and caring for patients who are reaching the end of their lives.

Supporting information includes a flow chart with clinical vignettes to illustrate potential scenarios.

In addition, new case studies on the GMC's Good Medical Practice in Action webpage include scenarios aimed specifically at helping doctors and patients better understand the end of life care guidance. These include how to deal with a dispute between relatives over care a father should receive and steps to take if a doctor has a conscientious objection to withdrawing treatment.

Ros Levenson, Chair of the GMC Standards and Ethics Reference Group, commented: "Doctors have told us that Good Medical Practice in Action helps them to understand our guidance, and is particularly useful when new guidance is launched, such as our end of our life guidance which has just come into force.

"We would encourage both doctors and patients to explore the brand new scenarios that have been added to the site."

GP News is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Caroline Price