A Scottish Parliament committee is calling for written evidence to help shape its examination of the issue of “assisted death”.
The End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill Committee was set up last month to consider the general principles of the Bill introduced in the Scottish Parliament by Margo MacDonald MSP on 20 January.
The main purposes of the Bill are to:
- allow registered medical practitioners in Scotland to assist patients who wish to bring their own lives to an end – known as an “an assisted death”
- establish who is eligible to receive an assisted death from a registered medical practitioner
- establish the process by which someone qualifies to receive an assisted death
- establish the responsibilities and duties of the registered medical practitioner and psychiatrist in response to a request for an assisted death.
Committee convener Ross Finnie MSP said: "A wide variety of groups and individuals, from medical practitioners to charities and lawyers in the UK and overseas, will have a view on the issue of assisted death.
"We want to hear from as many of them as possible to help us shape our consideration of the Bill as it progresses through Parliament.”
The committee is inviting views in writing on all aspects of the Bill. It wants responses to address a number of points, including:
- whether someone should be able to request end-of-life assistance from a registered medical practitioner
- the requirements for age and connection with Scotland set out in the Bill. The Bill states that anyone requesting an assisted death must be 16 years of age or over and have been registered with a medical practice in Scotland for at least 18 months
- the two categories of people who would qualify to be assisted under the terms of the Bill. They are individuals who have been diagnosed as terminally ill and find life intolerable or those who are permanently physically incapacitated to such an extent they are not able to live independently and find life intolerable
- the two-stage consent and verification process to be followed for an eligible person to receive end of life assistance
- the level and nature of safeguards in the Bill.
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