Advance directives, or advance statements, also known as living wills, have statutory power under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 when they constitute advance refusals. The implications for ethical care at the end of life are significant.
Physician assisted suicide is a hotly debated topic in Parliament and the media. Ethically it is merely one step back from euthanasia. Currently such practices are illegal in the UK. These articles consider assisted suicide and related issues from a Christian medical angle.
Death and dying raise many issues for patients and doctors alike. See also 'euthanasia', 'care of the elderly' and 'assisted suicide' pages.
The word has been defined and used in different ways. It literally means 'well-death', but in current debate refers to the intentional killing of a person in a medical context. These articles discuss various aspects: the spiritual, ethical and societal implications of euthanasia and the Christian response.
The House of Lords rejected Lord Joffe's Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill by 148-100 in 2006. Campaigning continues. These items discuss that bill and the implications of euthanasia legislation in the UK. See constant updates at Care Not Killing.
This was passed by Parliament in 2005 and implemented in 2007. There remain concerns about the Act's effect on treatment for mentally incapacitated patients, particularly in relation to feeding and hydration.
Developed from the hospice movement, palliative care recognises that when the end of life draws near the goals of medicine change from cure at all costs to maximising the quality of the time that remains. It has been so successful that it has all but eliminated one argument for legalising euthanasia.
Margo MacDonald MSP has a bill before the Scottish Parliament in 2010 that seeks to legalise euthanasia in Scotland. These pages contain information about campaigns in Scotland and euthanasia in general.