BY Ian Dunn | March 14 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Doubts over doctors’ suicide support

Margo MacDonald MSP has been criticised for claiming a majority of doctors back her plans to legalise assisted suicide in spite of the fact that all the major physician’s bodies are against it.

Ms MacDonald (right) said, despite the official opposition of several professional bodies, her own conversations led her to believe there was widespread support among medics for her bill. The MSP’s comments came after 11 senior clinicians signed a letter announcing their support for the proposed legislation and as her bill went back before a parliamentary committee this week.

“The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has renewed its opposition to assisted suicide last month and the British Medical Association, Royal College of Physicians, Association for Palliative Medicine, British Geriatric Society and World Medical Association have a long record of opposition to any change in the law,” a spokesman for Care Not Killing, the umbrella organisation backed by the Catholic Church spearheading opposition to the proposed bill, said.

“After an extensive consultation, the RCGP found that the vast majority of its members opposed a change in the law. It is clear that the majority considered opinion of doctors is strongly against assisted          suicide.

The spokesman went on to say it was ‘reassuring that so many of our doctors and medical professionals want to focus on good, compassionate care and not to open their profession up to the deliberate ending of patients’ lives.’

One of the 11 doctors who organised the public letter in support of the bill Dr Gillian MacDougall, a practising ear, nose and throat surgeon in Lothian, claimed more doctors would have signed it                 but had been concerned about possible repercussions.

The Scottish Parliament’s Health and Culture Committee discussed Ms MacDonald’s Bill on Tuesday in a move that marks the beginning of its journey through parliament.

Ms MacDonald’s last attempt to legalise assisted suicide was defeated by 85 votes to 16 with two abstentions in 2010.




—This story ran in full in the March 14 edition print of the SCO, available in parishes.


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