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End of life care: Conscientious objections

79. You can withdraw from providing care if your religious, moral or other personal beliefs about providing life-prolonging treatment lead you to object to complying with:

(a) a patient’s decision to refuse such treatment, or

(b) a decision that providing such treatment is not of overall benefit to a patient who lacks capacity to decide.

However, you must not do so without first ensuring that arrangements have been made for another doctor to take over your role. It is not acceptable to withdraw from a patient’s care if this would leave the patient or colleagues with nowhere to turn. Refer to our guidance on Personal beliefs and medical practice (2013) for more information.

80. If you disagree with a decision to withdraw or not to start a life-prolonging treatment on the basis of your clinical judgement about whether the treatment should be provided, you should follow the guidance in paragraphs 47-48 about resolving disagreements.