Professor Sam Ahmedzai has insisted 'doctors are trained to be open and honest' about Do Not Resuscitate orders (DNR).
This follows the results of an audit published by the Royal College of Physicians, which revealed one in five families were not informed of a DNR order placed on their loved one - the equivalent of 40,000 patients a year.
The order relates to patients who are dying from long-term terminal illnesses in end-of-life care, where doctors and nurses would not provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the event of a sudden heart attack or if someone stops breathing.
Professor Sam Ahmedzai chaired the audit, and he explained more about when CPR would not be attempted on patients.
He told Yasmeen Khan: "For people who are coming towards the end of their lives, it's quite clear to medical staff that pounding on their chest and shocking them would cause a lot of disruption to the family and have no benefit at all to the dying person.
"This is the situation where we say Do Not Resuscitate."
He highlighted the process and expressed his concerns about the numbers of families who weren't informed about DNR orders.
"When doctors and nurses make this decision, it should be a team decision," he added. "It should be conveyed to the person, if possible, and to their families.
"We train doctors and nurses to have open and honest conversations before the decision is made, but the worry is, only a third of people [in the audit] had this discussion."