Assisted dying laws 'could be changed'
Published on 05 January 2012 01:00 PM
People could be given the chance to take their own lives if they are suffering from a terminal illness, under new proposals.
Following yesterday's call for a change in the law on assisted dying from a former Metropolitan Police commissioner, research from the Commission on Assisted Dying indicates that doctors could be provided with new powers to assist those who wish to die.
The rules would apply to people with less than 12 months to live. Doctors would be able to offer such patients doses of lethal medication upon request.
However, the commission insists that strong safeguards would have to be created in order to prevent people with clinical depression from taking their lives or those without the mental ability to make a decision for themselves.
To demonstrate the voluntary nature of their actions, commission chair Lord Falconer emphasised that a person considering ending their life would have to take the medication themselves.
However, the committee's report could draw angry responses from campaigners against changes to the assisted dying laws. The Care Not Killing alliance has warned that 13,000 deaths could be seen annually as a result of any changes.
Copyright Press Association 2012