A landmark ruling on life sustaining treatment
3 October 2018
In a landmark ruling the Supreme Court has ruled that life sustaining treatment can be withdrawn, without an application to the Court, providing that the provisions of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 ('MCA') are followed, the relevant guidance is observed and there is agreement between P's family and treating medical team that it is in P's best interests.
However, if there is a difference of medical opinion or a lack of agreement between P's family and the medical treating team to the proposed removal of life sustaining treatment, then an application must be made to the Court of Protection.
For many this is a welcome decision sought to simplify the process and relieve some pressure during what is undoubtedly a traumatic time for families. However, it should be approached with caution. Now more than ever, it is crucial that medical practitioners have an extensive knowledge and correctly apply the MCA 2005. Any failure to do so would be unlawful.