Patients First Network
Patients First Network (PFN) helps you to let doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers know how you expect to be treated in hospital if you are mentally incapacitated. PFN fights against euthanasia.
If you join the Network, we give you a card and a medallion which alert medical staff, along with your family and carers, that you wish to receive appropriate medical treatment and care. Nothing should be done deliberately to end your life, nor should your health care team withdraw treatment with the deliberate intention of causing your death. The PFN's statement of Medical Care Principles can be found here.
You will also have the support of a confidential telephone service which can advise you and your family on end-of-life issues.
Why do I need this service?
Changes in medical guidelines and in law (The Mental Capacity Act 2005), mean that patients may be at risk from decisions to stop giving them food and fluids or to stop giving them medical and nursing care.
Joining the Patients First Network doesn't mean that you are asking doctors to keep you alive for ever. It doesn't mean that medical treatment should never be withdrawn. Treatment can be withdrawn which is of no benefit (which is not helping to sustain life, reduce suffering or improve health). Treatment which is intolerable can be withdrawn. While you remain able to make decisions and communicate with the doctors, they must always consult you and obtain your consent to treat you.
Who is this service for?
Patients First Network is available to anyone over the age of 16. It is particularly important if you are likely to need serious medical treatment in the near future and may be mentally incapacitated and therefore unable to communicate with doctors or give consent for treatment. This may arise in conditions affecting the mind (a brain injury or Alzheimer's for instance) or mental incapacity following a stroke or an accident.
In these situations when you lose 'capacity' to make decisions other people have to make decisions about what treatment you should have.
If you are caring for a vulnerable person we encourage you to join so that we can support you if difficulties arise at the end of life for the person you look after.
How do I join?
Details of membership can be found here.