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Advance planning in end-of-life care: legal and ethical considerations for neurologists
  1. Simon Kerrigan1,
  2. Ian Ormerod2
  1. 1Solicitor and Specialist Registrar in Neurology, Edinburgh Centre for Neuro-oncology, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2Consultant Neurologist, Department of Neurology, Frenchay Hospital, Bristol, UK
  1. Correspondence to S Kerrigan, Edinburgh Centre for Neuro-oncology, Western General Hospital, Crewe Road South, Edinburgh EH4 2XU, UK; simon.kerrigan{at}


Neurological illnesses can leave patients unable to make legally valid decisions about their medical treatment. However, this loss of decision making capacity can often be predicted in advance. The law in the UK now enables patients to make legally binding arrangements to either refuse specific treatments in advance or to appoint others to make decisions on their behalf. This article discusses the mechanics of advance planning under UK law and the role of the neurologist in helping patients to plan ahead.

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance Not commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.

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