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Health: Hydration

Volume 713: debated on Tuesday 20 October 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether patients entering NHS hospitals can request that their hydration is not stopped by doctors, nurses or other healthcare professions; and, if so, how. [HL5496]

Yes. They may make their request in any manner they wish. However, clinicians cannot be compelled to provide the particular treatment requested. In deciding upon such a request from a patient, healthcare professionals may need to make a distinction between requests for fluids to keep the patient comfortable and hydration for a purpose that they consider to be “clinically unnecessary, futile, or inappropriate”.1


1 Paragraph 9.5 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005: Code of Practice