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Session 2002 - 03
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Other Bills before Parliament

Patients' Protection Bill [HL]

Patients' Protection Bill [HL]







Prohibit the withdrawal or withholding of sustenance with the intention of

causing the death of a patient.

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and

consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present

Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

 1     Offence

     (1)    It shall be unlawful for any person responsible for the care of a patient to

withdraw or withhold sustenance from the patient if his purpose in doing so is

to hasten or otherwise cause the death of the patient.

     (2)    If the consultant in charge reaches a decision to withhold or withdraw


sustenance, he must record the reasons for so doing in the patient’s notes.

     (3)    In this Act—

                    “patient” means a person suffering from mental or physical illness or


                    “sustenance” means the provision of nutrition and hydration, however so



 2     Exceptions to section 1

     (1)    No offence will have been committed under section 1(1) if any of the

requirements in subsections (2) and (3) below are met.

     (2)    The patient—


           (a)           requests the withdrawing or withholding of sustenance; or

           (b)           does not give consent to the provision of sustenance; or

           (c)           does not give consent to the recommended intervention to provide


HL Bill 89 53/2

Patients' Protection Bill [HL]



     (3)    In the case of a patient who lacks capacity to consent, consultation by the

doctor in charge with the next of kin or legally appointed representative has

taken place, and the provision of sustenance—

           (a)           is likely to cause significant discomfort to the patient without

improvement in his condition, or worsen his illness or debility; or


           (b)           is likely to result in no improvement in the illness or debility of a dying


     (4)    For the purposes of subsection (3) a patient lacks capacity if he is unable to

understand in broad terms the nature and effect of the decision to withdraw or

withhold sustenance.


 3     Duty of care

There shall be a general duty on all those providing nursing care for a patient

to offer appropriate sustenance to the patient.

 4     Short title, commencement and extent

     (1)    This Act may be cited as the Patients’ Protection Act 2003.


     (2)    This Act shall come into force at the end of one month beginning with the day

on which this Act is passed.

     (3)    This Act extends to England, Wales and Northern Ireland only.



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