Advance decisions to refuse treatment: a guide for health and social care professionals

Document type
Corporate author(s)
NHS National End of Life Care Programme; National Council for Palliative Care (Great Britain)
NHS National End of Life Care Programme
Date of publication
1 January 2013
Health Services, Social Work, Social Care and Social Services
Social welfare
Material type

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The purpose of this guide is to help health and social care professionals understand and implement the new law relating to advance decisions to refuse treatment, as contained in the Mental Capacity Act 2005. The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) came into force in 2007 and it is supported by a Code of Practice. Everyone must comply with the requirements of the Act.

The legislative framework for advance decisions to refuse treatment is complex. This guide is intended to clarify the law for professionals and to offer additional practical information to enable them to support all people, whatever their age; race, faith, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or preferences that may choose to consider making an advance decision to refuse treatment. This guide contains the text of chapter 9 of the Code of Practice, which deals with advance decisions to refuse treatment (ADRT), together with additional commentary. Cross reference is made to other chapters of the Code of Practice. The guide also identifies additional links and resources, which it is hoped will prove helpful. It is always recommended that professionals seek appropriate help to resolve any questions they may have.