HC Deb 30 January 2002 vol 379 c433W
Dr. Richard Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will draw up a national Do not Resuscitate policy. [29394]

Yvette Cooper

We are committed to ensure best practice in resuscitation decision-making throughout the national health service. In 2000, the Department published new guidance "Resuscitation Policy (Health Service Circular 2000/28)" which reinforces patients' rights on resuscitation decisions and aims to ensure that patients are properly involved.

One of the basic principles of health care is that a competent patient has the right under common law to give or withhold consent to examination or treatment. In the case of patients who are not capable of consenting to treatment, and in the absence of a valid advance refusal of treatment, it is a doctor's duty to act in the best interests of the patient concerned. Decisions must be made on a case by case basis.