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Dignity in Dying launches new concept of advance decision (1 October 2007)

1st October 2007

Dignity in Dying launches new concept of advance decision

Dignity in Dying, the leading organisation campaigning for greater patient choice at the end of life, has launched a groundbreaking new advance decision (the new name for living wills).

The Dignity in Dying Pro-Choice Advance Decision will be released on October 1st – the same date that the Mental Capacity Act comes into force, making advance decisions statutory.

The new Pro-Choice Advance Decision, which has been approved by top lawyers, adheres to the main purpose of making an advance decision: that patients can refuse treatment in the case of a loss of mental capacity, even if it results in the shortening of life.

Uniquely, and for the first time ever, patients will be able to also include value statements and additional directions relevant to decisions about their health and welfare in the future. This can vary from stating their personal values and beliefs to expressing their preferred place of care and death.

For the first time, people who make a Pro-Choice Advance Decision are also provided with a ‘notice of advance decision’ card, which they are encouraged to carry with them at all times to alert healthcare professionals to the fact that they have an advance decision.

Ashley Riley, Head of Campaigns and Communications at Dignity in Dying, comments:

“The enforcement of the Mental Capacity Act is a major breakthrough for greater patient choice at the end of life. We felt it was important for our new product to reflect the progress made by this groundbreaking legislation and to give people as many options as possible to ensure that they have maximum decisions over their own lives.”

Recognising the importance of giving people the authority to make their own decisions about their health, people who make a Pro-Choice Advance Decision also have the option of stating which treatments they would like to receive should they lose mental capacity, although this is not legally binding.

Notes to editor

Case studies:

We have a range of case studies that support our advance decisions. Please see the included sheet for an example. For any others, including regional case studies, please contact Jessica on 020 7479 7736

About Dignity in Dying:

Dignity in Dying is the leading organisation in the UK that advocates assisted dying for terminally ill patients.
The organisation is also the country’s leading provider in information on end-of-life issues.
Dignity in Dying has over 100,000 supporters and receives its funding entirely from donations from the public.
Opinion polls consistently show that at least 80% of the UK population support a change in the law on assisted dying.
An interview with Ashley Riley is available to download at:

Media contacts:

For all media enquiries, please contact Jessica Tomlin on 020 7479 7736 or 07725 433025 or on