- Video report by ITV News Correspondent Juliet Bremner
Tens of thousands of patients are having do not resuscitate orders imposed without their families' consent, an audit has found.
Hospitals are failing to tell relations that they do not intend to attempt potentially lifesaving techniques to save their loved ones, according to the Royal College of Physicians.
Its audit of 9,000 dying patients found that one in five families were not informed of the plans - equivalent to 40,000 patients a year, the Daily Telegraph reported.
In 16% of cases the study found there was no record of a conversation with the patient about the order.
The audit's chairman Professor Sam Ahmedzai told the Telegraph: "When a decision has been taken, it is unforgivable not to have a conversation with the patient - if they are conscious and able - or with the family."
He also said doctors needed to be more open with dying patients, as half of patients identified as likely to be dying were dead within a day.
"This is being done very late in the day - as doctors we just don't like to face up to it," Prof Ahmedzai added.