Today (Thursday 23rd September) Orkney's MSP, Liam McArthur, will launch a public consultation on his proposal for a new Members Bill which seeks to change the law on assisted dying in Scotland.
The consultation, which will run until 22nd December 2021, details the proposals for a bill seeking to legalise assisted dying as a choice for terminally ill, mentally competent adults in Scotland.
Launching the consultation, Mr McArthur said:
“In my time as an MSP I have heard from many dying people and grieving families who have been failed by the current blanket ban on assisted dying. I have watched other countries, such as Australia and New Zealand put new laws in place to ensure their citizens can have a peaceful and dignified death and I believe that the time is right for Scotland to look again at providing our dying people with more choice at the end of life. The consultation sets out a blueprint for how we can do this safely and compassionately.”
"The proposed law will work alongside palliative care and apply only to terminally ill, mentally competent adults. It features strong safeguards that put transparency, protection and compassion at the core of a prospective new law. How we die is an issue for our whole society and I am keen that this public consultation encourages a nationwide discussion on what we need to do to give dying people the help and support they need to have a good death. I encourage people to respond with their views and experiences."
Safeguards included in the consultation proposal include:
Two doctors independently confirm the person is terminally ill, establish that the person has the mental capacity to request assisted dying, assess that the person is making an informed decision without pressure or coercion
- Two doctors ensure the person has been fully informed of palliative, hospice, and other care options
The person signs a written declaration of their request, this is followed by a period of reflection
The person must administer the life-ending medication themselves; It would continue to be a criminal offence to end someone’s life directly
Every assisted death would be recorded and reported for safety, monitoring, and research purposes.