The End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill committee was set up last month to consider the general principles of the bill introduced in the Scottish parliament by independent MSP Margo MacDonald on 20 January.
The main purposes of the bill are to:
• Allow registered medical practitioners in Scotland to assist patients who wish to bring their own lives to an end – known as an “an assisted death”.
• Establish who is eligible to receive an assisted death from a registered medical practitioner.
• Establish the process by which someone qualifies to receive an assisted death.
• Establish the responsibilities and duties of the registered medical practitioner and psychiatrist in response to a request for an assisted death.
The bill goes further than the situation in England, where the director of public prosecutions issued policy last month on when prosecution would be more likely to take place for assisted suicide.