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Let doctors help terminally ill patients to die, says commission

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e64 (Published 05 January 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e64
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

Doctors in England and Wales could be allowed to assist terminally ill people to end their lives under strict safeguards without endangering the vulnerable, the most comprehensive UK inquiry into assisted dying has concluded.

The independent Commission on Assisted Dying, chaired by former Labour lord chancellor Charles Falconer, says doctors could safely be allowed to provide medication to those with a terminal illness and a prognosis of no more than 12 months’ survival who want to decide for themselves when to die.

To be eligible, they would have to be at least 18 years of age and have the mental capacity to take the decision. Those who might be clinically depressed or experiencing pressure from friends or relatives would be protected by a comprehensive set of safeguards.

The high level commission was hosted by the think tank Demos and funded by the businessman Bernard Lewis and the best selling author …

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