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Daily Mail of 10 March 2006 – front page: living wills (10 Mar)

Friday 10 March 2006

Daily Mail of 10 March 2006 – front page: living wills

Dignity in Dying wishes to clarify the law in respect of living wills for anybody who is in doubt after some recent media coverage.

It is important for people who are interested in making living wills to understand that doctors cannot ignore your wishes under the current law. Living wills, if they are properly completed, are valid and legally enforceable.

Doctors should not believe they can currently ignore a patient’s wishes expressed in a living will. Any doctor or other person such as a nurse, or social worker, ignoring the validly expressed wishes of a patient’s living will may face legal action. Treating a patient against their wishes is trespass against the person and potential criminal assault.

The Mental Capacity Act places the current law on a statutory basis so that doctors are more aware of their existing legal responsibilities and patients are better informed about their existing legal rights to refuse treatment.

Any patient whose living will is being ignored by doctors should contact Dignity in Dying on 0870 777 7868 or