GPs cautious on end-of-life actions
UK doctors are highly cautious of actions that significantly shorten terminally ill patients' lives, results from the most comprehensive survey to date show.
Doctors' opinions on end-of- life decisions highlight the presence of 'a strong palliative care philosophy in the UK', the researchers said.
Results from 857 medical practitioners – both GPs and hospital specialists – found UK doctors were 'relatively cautious in shortening life by more than a few days' compared with colleagues in other countries (Palliative Medicine, October).
Study leader Professor Clive Seale, professor of sociology at Brunel University, said: 'UK doctors are very reluctant to take decisions to shorten life, but in terms of sharing decisions UK doctors are pretty good.
'They are pretty patient-
centred and they are cautious about ending life by a significant amount of time.'
He added this new report on the survey – some results of which were reported by Pulse earlier this year – should not
be misinterpreted as meaning most doctors help end the lives of terminally ill patients.
'It is important not to confuse end-of-life decisions with voluntary euthanasia,' Professor Seale said.