§ Mr. Lammy
Artificial nutrition and hydration are a form of medical treatment and are subject to the same principles as those governing medical treatment. There is no lawful justification for giving or continuing treatment that is not in the best interests of a patient who is unable to consent. The guidance from the British Medical Association and General Medical Council is in line with this legal position.
§ Mr. Lammy
Any decision to withdraw artificial nutrition and hydration where the patient lacks the capacity to consent must be made in the best interests of298W that patient, based on a judgment that this treatment is of no curative or beneficial effect. Professional guidance states that those close to the patient should be involved in the assessment of the patient's best interests. Where relatives wish to dispute a decision taken about the treatment of a patient who lacks the capacity to consent, they can take this up through the national health service complaints procedure or seek a court judgment. The Department of Health does not issue guidance for relatives specifically on this issue.