Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Assisted Suicide Bill and the view of palliative care medics

A number of Scottish palliative care medics have written a letter to The Times expressing their rejection of the End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill proposed by Margo MacDonald. This letter comes three weeks before the deadline for submission of evidence to the special committee of MSP set up to scrutinise this proposed legislation. Interestingly, only in the past two days, Dr Stephen Hutchison MD FRCP(Glasg) Consultant Physician in Palliative Medicine at the Highland Hospice has also expressed his personal take on the End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill. Dr. Hutchinson article is published in four parts within the End of Life Issues & Debate blog.

The stakes could not be higher. Public opinion in Scotland needs to be informed about all of the aspects of this debate. It is therefore very encouraging that specialists in palliative care are contributing to the debate and expressing their objections to this proposed legislation. The Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office, SCPO has produced a very informative and balanced briefing paper on the proposed bill. The Church of Scotland has expressed its views on end of life issues on repeated occasions. Personally, as a minister and as the convenor of the Church and Society Council, I cannot support this proposed legislation.

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