§ Lord Lester of Herne Hill
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they consider that the law needs clarification, or that further guidance should be provided to doctors and nurses about the treatment of terminally ill patients, in the light of the trial of Dr. Moor. [HL2471]
§ Baroness Hayman
Medical treatment given to a patient with the primary purpose of inducing death is illegal. Anyone alleged to have undertaken such action would be open to a charge of murder or manslaughter. The Government have no plans to change the law in this respect.
The Government recognise the importance of good pain and symptom control for patients with life threatening illnesses and maximising the quality of life for patients. In support of this, in June 1998 the Department of Health issued three documents published by the National Council for Hospice and Specialist Palliative Care Services (under Health Service Circular 1998/115) which provide guidance on key issues facing those who are dying and those caring for them in the National Health Service. These were:
- Guidelines for Managing Cancer Pain in Adults
- Changing Gear—Guidelines for Managing the Last Days of Life in Adults
- Palliative Care in the Hospital Setting.
Copies of these documents have been placed in the Library.