There are few areas of medicine where practice within robust and clear ethical boundaries is as important as in child health. The College therefore takes seriously its responsibility for ethics training and standard setting in paediatrics.

Ethics and the Law Advisory Committee (ELAC)

The College has an ELAC to lead on:

  • interpreting the principles of ethics as they underpin day-to-day medical practice
  • advising on how ethics of paediatric medicine interface with common and statute law
  • ensuring medical practitioners of all grades can access appropriate education and training opportunities on ethics and the law, and how both of these affect their practice
  • educating why medical ethics demands respect for children's welfare, moral status and rights

Past projects

Among the work previously undertaken by the ELAC to support ethics education and set standards are:

  • surveying paediatric trainees for information on how they learn about ethics and where they think the best information on ethics is available
  • producing advice documents for publication in Archives of Disease in Childhood
  • representing paediatrics on different ethics working groups
  • advising individual doctors and other groups, including other charities dealing with children, on how best to deal with ethical dilemmas

Latest publication

The College has now published Making Decisions to limit treatment in life-limiting and life-threatening conditions in children: a framework for practice (DtLT) which supersedes the 2004 publication Witholding or Withdrawing Life Sustaining Treatment in Children: A Framework for Practice.

Access Making decisions to limit treatment in life-limiting and life-threatening conditions in children.

Further information

The College believes in the child's rights to the highest standard of health service attainable, to be treated with respect and dignity, to protection and safeguarding and to be heard - find out more about our work

We have compiled a list of resources that support the training and critical thinking of paediatricians and other healthcare professionals around ethical issues - find out more