HL Deb 30 October 1997 vol 582 cc251-2WA
Lord Alton of Liverpool

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they continue to support the British Medical Association's opposition to the legalisation of euthanasia; and whether they accept that the use of advance directives can create circumstances in which euthanasia is practised.

Baroness Jay of Paddington

The Government have no plans to change the law relating to euthanasia.

It is a general principle of law and medical practice that any person with the mental capacity to make a valid decision may choose whether or not to accept medical treatment. An advance directive is a way for a patient to plan ahead for a time when he/she may lose the capacity to make or convey his/her own treatment decisions. An advance directive which is clearly applicable in the circumstances pertaining is as legally binding on health professionals as a contemporaneous refusal would be. An advance directive cannot authorise a medical practitioner to do anything which is illegal.