Palliative Care
The GMC recommends that high quality palliative care should be offered to patients towards the end of their lives. Palliative care as defined by the World Health Organization is the "active, total care of patients whose disease is not responsive to curative treatment. Control of pain, other symptoms nad psychological, social and spiritual problems is paramount."

Opponents of euthanasia often use palliative care as the reason for opposing euthanasia. However, this viewpoint may compromise patient autonomy as patients are denied the choice of deciding how they should die.

The Doctrine of Double Effect distinguishes intention from foresight. Palliative care practitioners often used unlicensed high dose of analgesics to control symptoms. Administration of high dose analgesics with intention to relieve pain but may shorten the patient's life is considered lawful. However, it is not lawful if the administration of high dose analgesics has the intention to shorten the patient's life to relieve pain (i.e. euthanasia). This "doctrine" is subject to intense debate as many consider this as playing with words. However, this principle has been used in ruling of many high profile cases by Judges hence it is unlikely to be changed in any time soon.

  • A joint statement from the BMA, the Resuscitation Council (UK) and the Royal College of Nursing
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation: Standards for clinical practise and training (RCAnaesthetists, RCP, ICS, the Resuscitation Council UK)
  • Identification of potential donors of organs for transplantation: HSG (94)41 NHS Executive
  •, Human Organ Transplants Act 2004