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Assisted suicide proposals published

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Assisting someone to die is currently punishable by a term of imprisonment under the Suicide Act 1961. A change in the law such as suggested in the report by the Commission on Assisted Dying would prevent the doctor falling foul of this legislation. The report suggests doctors are only allowed to prescribe lethal drug dosages to those who are diagnosed as terminally ill and who have less than 12 months to live. Additionally, the patient would have to be the one to raise the discussion about this with their doctor. The doctor must then consider whether or not they have the mental capacity to make such a large decision, as well as a firm desire to die. The doctor would be required to discuss other options with the patient, before a second doctor confirms the patient's decision. The patient would then be required record their decision in front of independent witnesses. Following this, the report suggests a period of time should be allowed to elapse before the medication is prescribed, to allow time for a change of mind by the patient. It remains to be seen whether the proposals contained in the report are adopted. For more information please complete our Enquiry Form, contact us on 01245 493939 or email The above is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.