Dying Matters welcomes GMC guidance for doctors

20 May 2010
The General Medical Council (GMC) has issued guidance for doctors on having the difficult conversations that are crucial to good end-of-life care. The guidance acknowledges that this area can be extremely challenging; but stresses that that open communication is vital to ensuring patients get the care they want, in the setting they want to receive it. Dying Matters welcomes the guidance, and congratulates the GMC on its work to encourage greater openness around issues of death and dying.

Professor Mayur Lakhani, Chair of the National Council for Palliative Care & Dying Matters Coalition comments:

"Ensuring that doctors are equipped to have what can be challenging conversations about care and treatment as people approach the end of life is vitally important. The emphasis that the GMC's new guidance puts on the need for open and honest conversations between doctors, people approaching the end of life, and those close to them is very welcome.

Doctors have a responsibility to become familiar with their duties to people approaching the end of life - as set out in this document. Discussing and making plans in advance with people about where they want to be cared for, or to identify what their priorities for care are is essential. These conversations can help to ensure that high quality care is delivered which meets people's needs and leads to better experiences at end of life, with more people dying 'good deaths.'

The challenge now is to ensure that the approach identified in this guidance becomes embedded in end of life care practice. NCPC is pleased to have been involved in the consultation for this guidance and looks forward to working with the GMC to ensure that good practice becomes commonplace throughout end of life care."

Professor Mayur Lakhani, CBE FRCGP, Practising GP and Chair, National Council for Palliative Care & Dying Matters Coalition

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