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Palliative Care

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 13th May 2020.

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Photo of Rosie Cooper Rosie Cooper Labour, West Lancashire

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) people with learning disabilities and autism and (b) other people are not unlawfully having Do not resuscitate or Do not attempt cardio pulmonary resuscitation written into their medical records.

Photo of Helen Whately Helen Whately Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

Holding answer received on 11 May 2020

We are clear that it is completely unacceptable for do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (DNACPR) decisions to be applied in a blanket fashion to any group of people, or for a DNACPR decision to be put in place without appropriate consultation with the patient concerned, or their families and carers if the patient lacks capacity.

The guidance, published jointly by the British Medical Association, the Resuscitation Council (UK) and the Royal College of Nursing, is clear that resuscitation decisions must be tailored to the individual circumstances of the patient and must not be made on the basis of blanket assumptions applied to particular groups. The guidance is available at the following link:

We have commended this guidance to the National Health Service, as the basis for local policies on resuscitation.

On 30 March, the Care Quality Commission, British Medical Association, Care Provider Alliance and Royal College of General Practitioners wrote to adult social care providers and general practitioner practices to set out their shared position on the importance of advance care planning being based on the needs of the individual. This statement is available at the following link:

NHS England and NHS Improvement have also written to the NHS regarding the appropriate use of DNACPR decisions for people with learning disabilities and other vulnerable groups. These letters are available at the following links:

We are working with the social care sector to understand their experiences of the wrongful application of DNACPR decisions and what further action may be needed to address inappropriate practices.

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