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GPs are more willing than hospital doctors to take the difficult decision to withhold treatment to the terminally-ill, a new study reports.

Some 71 per cent of GPs said they would withhold antibiotics from a terminally-ill cancer patient if no information on the patient's wishes was available.

Only 39 per cent of hospital doctors were willing to take the same decision – 63 per cent of consultants and 37 per cent of junior doctors.

Study leader Dr James White, specialist registrar in geriatric medicine at Singleton Hospital, Swansea, said it was a ‘positive' that GPs were withholding treatment, as it suggested they were making judgments on the benefits of treatment.

The research will be presented at the British Geriatrics Society conference this week.

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