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Health Services: Learning Disability

Department of Health written question – answered on 22nd December 2015.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps are being taken to ensure that Do Not Resuscitate orders are not assigned in the future to patients solely because they have Down’s syndrome or any other learning disability.

Photo of Lord Prior of Brampton Lord Prior of Brampton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health

The Department expects National Health Service trusts and foundation trusts to have in place local policies on resuscitation that are based on expert professional guidance. We have commended, as a basis for local policies, professional guidance, Decisions relating to cardiopulmonary resuscitation (2014), published jointly by the British Medical Association, the Resuscitation Council (UK) and the Royal College of Nursing. The guidance is clear that any resuscitation decision must be free from any discrimination, tailored to the individual circumstances of the patient and fully documented. The use of a Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation decision solely on the basis that a patient has Down’s Syndrome is totally unacceptable.

A copy of the guidance is attached.

Decisions Relating to CPR (PDF Document, 601.78 KB)

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