Assisted dying bill could create 'death squads' of doctors, cancer specialist says, while PM 'not convinced'
Prof Karol Sikora said the move would be at odds with "good health care," while David Cameron said the move could lead people into doing things "they don't actually want"
A leading oncologist has warned against the passing of an assisted dying bill, saying that the move could create “death squads” out of doctors.
The proposal, which will be debated in the House of Lords tomorrow in a second reading, allows doctors to prescribe a lethal dose to terminally ill patients judged to have less than six months to live.
Speaking to BBC’s Newsnight, Professor Karol Sikora said: “I think the difficulty we have is that if you do implement the bill that's proposed on Friday, doctors are going to have to make the death decision, you're going to have to have essentially death squads, which is really out of the context of delivering good health care.”
The bill, tabled by former Labour Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer, will be decided by a free vote in Parliament.
Prof Sikora's comments come as Norman Lamb, the Care Minister, drastically changed his personal stance on the matter - he now backs the proposals.
Video: Assisted dying campaigner - 'You've got to start listening'
The Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk told the Daily Mail: "I thought 'Can I really justify the position I have taken in the past?' Increasingly I felt it was untenable."
He added that with "tough safeguards", the terminally ill should be able to choose whether to end their own life.
He has also said that his views are a result of “talking to an awful lot of people, people who’ve gone through the experience of a loved one dying.
READ MORE: Desmond Tutu: I approve of assisted dying
Dying cleric wants assisted suicide to remain illegal
Speakers at assisted dying debate explain their views
“Ultimately you have to ask the question, who should it be that decides? Should it be me, or anyone else in that situation, or should it be the state? Ultimately I think it's a very personal decision.”
Prime Minister David Cameron has said he is "not convinced" by the bill and has spoken of his concern that if passed, “people might be being pushed into things that they don’t actually want for themselves.”
During Prime Minister's questions, he said he didn't think "further steps needed to be taken" by parliament.
It comes as senior members of the clergy display a more welcoming stance to the subject. Desmond Tutu has said he would like to apply his mind “to the issue of dignity for the dying,” while Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has said he had changed his mind after considering cases like that of locked-in syndrome sufferer Tony Nicklinson and “the reality of needless suffering.”
Desmond Tutu has said he supports the measure According to a poll for ITV this week, 70 per cent of Britons are behind the assisted dying bill, with 10 per cent disagreeing.
However, 47 per cent said they believed the legalisation of assisted dying would “inevitably” lead to some vulnerable people opting to end their lives to avoid becoming a burden on their loved ones.
Additional reporting by PA
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...
£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...