When a patient seeks advice or information about assistance to die



In this document, we use the terminology ‘end their own life’ instead of suicide except when making a direct reference to criminal offences.


A patient who dies as a result of the natural progression of their disease, following the refusal of life-prolonging treatment, does not commit suicide. Airedale NHS Trust v Bland [1993] 1 All ER 821, Re JT (Adult: Refusal of medical treatment) [1998] 1 FLR 48 and Re AK (Medical treatment: Consent) [2001] 1 FLR 129


Doctors who are uncertain about how a particular action might be viewed in law must seek up to date legal advice. This can be obtained from a defence organisation, professional association or an employer’s legal department.