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Next of Kin

What is a next of kin?

Your medical next of kin is someone you nominate to receive information about your medical care.

If you have not chosen a next of kin, it will usually be assumed to be a close blood relative, spouse or civil partner.

This is separate to an inheritance next of kin which is not covered here.


What does a next of kin do?

They act on your behalf if you are unable to communicate due to illness or being unconscious.

They will be asked for advice and guidance on your wishes.

In the event of your death, they may need to give permission for a ‘consented postmortem’.


Who can be a next of kin?

Adult – Your choice should be someone you feel close to. It does not have to be a blood relative or spouse.

Child (under 18) – For children under 18, next of kin is someone who has the legal authority to make decisions on their behalf – such as a parent or legal guardian.


What rights does the next of kin have?

A medical next of kin is not defined in UK law.

This means your next of kin cannot give consent to providing or withholding care.

Choosing a next of kin is not the same as appointing a Lasting Power of Attorney. A Lasting Power of Attorney can make health and care decisions for you if you lose mental capacity. For more information, click HERE.


Why is it important for the practice to have this information up to date?

Identifying and maintaining updated next of kin information is essential to ensure that individuals’ wishes are respected, decisions are made in their best interest when they are unable to do so themselves, and their affairs are appropriately handled in accordance with their preferences.


If you already have a next of kin appointed and you would like to remove them, please complete an administrative eConsult form HERE.


To appoint a next of kin please complete the form below: