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Dignity in Dying: Changing the Law

Liam McArthur LibDem MSP, for the Orkney Constituency has lodged a final proposal in the Scottish Parliament for his Members Bill ‘Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland)’. 

Date lodged: 08 September 2022

A proposal for a Member’s Bill to enable competent adults who are terminally ill to be provided at their request with assistance to end their life and to provide for the collection and reporting of relevant data.

Accompanied by Consultation Summary

Gaelic, British Sign Language (BSL) and Easy Read versions of the summary have been produced by Liam McArthur and can be accessed at www.assisteddying.scot

Scottish Parliament

The report analysing the responses to the public consultation on the bill’s proposals has also been published.  The proposals received the highest number of responses to date for a consultation on a Members Bill in the Scottish Parliament with 14,038 valid consultation responses submitted.

The report’s findings show:

  • A clear majority of respondents, 76%, were fully supportive of the proposal, with a further 2% partially supportive.
  • Many respondents have first-hand experiences of witnessing family, friends and patients with a terminal illness who had experienced great pain and suffered what was often described as a “bad death”.
  • Many supportive respondents believe the proposal is an improvement on previous attempts to legislate for assisted dying and are fully satisfied with the proposed criteria – that the right to an assisted death should be available for competent terminally ill adults with a clear and appropriate set of safeguards built in to every step of the process, together with a right for health professionals involved to conscientiously object.

Ally Thomson, Director of Dignity in Dying Scotland said:

“The overwhelming majority of people in Scotland support a change in the law and now MSPs have the opportunity to respond to this unprecedented call for change and deliver a safe and compassionate new law. That so many people across the country have recounted their personal experience of watching a loved one suffer shows the current blanket ban on assisted dying does not work, instead it creates heartache and injustice for so many families. An injustice that can now be put right.”

“Taken alongside the responses from dying people who wish to have the choice of an assisted death available to them, as well as the evidence from other countries where they would already have this option, it is clear that the case for change is compelling.”

“ I urge MSPs to sign these proposals so that Scotland can move forward progressively by providing our dying citizens with what they need – excellent care and the choice of an assisted death for those who need it.”

There is cross party support from MSPs for Liam McArthur’s proposed Bill.