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Towards Better Palliative Care for Scotland

more: Articles, Scotland, Articles/Scotland

6th March 2009

Care Not Killing has responded to Roseanna Cunningham's consultation over a Palliative Care Bill for Scotland

Better Palliative Care

Care Not Killing has responded to Roseanna Cunningham's consultation over a Palliative Care Bill for Scotland.

Last Autumn the Scottish Nationalist MSP Roseanna Cunningham launched a consultation on proposals for a Bill, to be presented to the Scottish Parliament, which would place a statutory duty on health authorities to ensure that palliative care is available to all on the basis of need. These proposals are designed to remove postcode lotteries, where they exist, in the provision of palliative care to terminally and otherwise seriously ill people and to ensure that all who need this form of health care are able to access it without difficulty.

Mrs Cunningham has recently been appointed Minister for the Environment and we are pleased to hear that her proposals have been taken over by Scottish Nationalist MSP Gil Paterson. Care Not Killing strongly supports these proposals, as we did those of Baroness Finlay of Llandaff two years ago in the Westminster Parliament. We have therefore responded to the consultation, endorsing the proposals and identifying a number of practical issues which in our view need to be addressed if legislation of this nature is to lead to real improvement on the ground.

Legislation of this nature is particularly necessary in the light of another consultation launched by the MSP Margo MacDonald seeking to legalise euthanasia in Scotland for people in a wide range of circumstances, including unfortunate and vulnerable people who are not in any way ill but simply feel their lives to be intolerable. Care Not Killing has responded firmly to Mrs MacDonald's consultation, making clear our view that legislation of this nature would put large numbers of vulnerable people in Scotland at serious risk, especially in the present climate of economic recession. While it is clear that proposals such as Mrs MacDonald's stem more from the promotion of personal autonomy and control than from any failure in palliative care, removing postcode lotteries in the provision of such care is essential not only to ensure that the people of Scotland receive the care they deserve but also to counter hazardous and ill-thought-out proposals for legalising what would be in effect euthanasia on demand.

Care Not Killing's Response
Roseanna Cunningham's Consultation Document

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