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Doctors' views - extracts from the Select Committee Report

more: Medical Opinion, Opinion, Medical Opinion/Opinion

3rd October 2005

Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill [HL]. Volume 1: Report, 2005. Page 42

Par. 110
...The BMA's view however was that legalising 'assisted suicide would affect some patient's ability to trust doctors and to trust medical advice'. And Dr Wilks also spoke of the importance, in the wake of recent adverse publicity for the medical profession, of maintaining the public`s trust in its doctors. 'I have a concern,' he said 'that re-defining the role of the doctor in the way that this Bill would do might pose some threat to that trust.' The majority of the letters that we have received from doctors express serious reservations about the impact of the Bill on both their relationship with their patients and the ethics of their profession. It is important to consider nurse/patient relationships, which the RCN felt could be jeopardised by the Bill (Written evidence, Paragraph 4.2).

Par. 111
...Dr Randall felt it would be better, 'if society wants assisted suicide, to take doctors out of it... You would not have this problem of elderly vulnerable people worrying about what would happen to them when they were in care'.

Par. 112
On the other hand, Dr Nathanson commented; 'What doctors find it impossible to consider is who would want to provide that service. They find it almost impossible to conceive who would want to spend their lives administering lethal injections. Whether such a service could ever be set up, and who would be the people who took part in it, raises very serious questions.' Dr Wilks cautioned that, 'the establishment of a separate service is a kind of signal that there is a different group of patients who do not deserve the same kind of overall assessment and communication and discussion about options, and they can go off to the euthanasia service instead'.

Par. 116
We were also given the results of a survey carried out by the Association of Palliative (APM). We were told that in the APM survey of its members, which attracted 84% response rate, 72% percent of respondents had said that they would not be prepared to participate in a process of patient assessment which formed part of an application for assisted suicide or voluntary euthanasia.

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