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Volume 498: debated on Thursday 29 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what guidelines the NHS issues on the use of continuous deep sedation until death; (296149)

(2) what assessment he has made of the rate of prevalence of continuous deep sedation until death in England; what information he holds for benchmarking purposes on the rates in other EU member states; and if he will make a statement.

No central guidance on the use of sufficient medication to keep a patient sedated until their death, known as continuous deep sedation, has been issued. This is a matter for the relevant clinicians, using their professional judgment and taking into account the circumstances and wishes of the individual patient or, where a patient is considered incapable of decision-making, the views of the patient’s family on what he or she would wish. Data on the prevalence of continuous deep sedation in England, or in other European Union member states, are not held centrally.