The General Medical Council's guidelines on treatment and care towards the end of life, published in May 2010, contain important guidance for all doctors, including psychiatrists, who care for patients and their families towards the end of life. The document is written in the light of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and complements existing Good Medical Practice and confidentiality guidelines, also from the General Medical Council. Psychiatrists need to be aware of the communication, legal and ethical issues around end-of-life care, including advance directives and clinically assisted nutrition and hydration. This new guidance is compulsory reading for all psychiatrists.
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