Resuscitation Council (UK)

Do Not Attempt CPR

Decisions relating to cardiopulmonary resuscitation - statement

The British Medical Association, Resuscitation Council (UK) and Royal College of Nursing note the judgment in the High Court in the case of Winspear v City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust [2015] EWHC 3250 (QB).
 
The wording of the guidance in Decisions relating to cardiopulmonary resuscitation is under review. We will make any necessary changes to ensure that it is compliant with this most recent decision. For the present, we wish to emphasise the following points for attention when health professionals consider making an anticipatory decision about CPR for a person who does not have capacity to participate in the decision-making process:

  1. In order to make a fully informed decision, where it is both practicable and appropriate, they must discuss the patient’s situation and the decision with those close to the patient (subject to any confidentiality restrictions expressed if, and when, the patient had capacity).
  2. Where both practicable and appropriate, they should not delay contacting those close to the patient in order to do this. Of note, in the recent judgment it was stated by the judge that “a telephone call at 3.00 am may be less than convenient or desirable than a meeting in working hours, but that is not the same as whether it is practicable”.
  3. When it is not possible to contact those close to the patient immediately and an anticipatory decision about CPR is needed in order to deliver high-quality care, that decision should be made in accordance with the relevant legislation.

These recommendations apply when a decision is being considered because attempting CPR would not succeed in preventing a patient’s death or when a decision about CPR is being considered on a balance of risk and benefit in a patient’s individual situation at that time.

November 2015

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