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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Leniency shown to GP over suicide a ‘sign of progress’

Glasgow GP Dr Iain Kerr received a six-month suspension from the GMC (the disciplinary body for doctors in the United Kingdom) over giving sleeping pills to a pensioner so she could kill herself

According to The Herald the decision has been greeted by proponents of assisted suicide as "a sign of progress"

"The decision not to strike a Scottish doctor from the medical register after he prescribed pills to a patient so she could end her life was greeted as a sign of progress by campaigners.

Jeremy Purvis, the Liberal Democrat MSP who proposed a bill allowing assisted suicide in Scotland, said yesterday he believed in the past a doctor in a similar situation could have been struck off by the General Medical Council and could face prosecution.

"It may well be that there is a quiet progression towards a change of practice," he said.

However, he added that it should not be left to prosecutors and the GMC to make "what is effectively case law".

Last week The Herald revealed Glasgow GP Dr Iain Kerr received a six-month suspension over giving sleeping pills to a pensioner so she could kill herself .

MSP Margo MacDonald, who is in favour of allowing doctors to help the terminally ill to die, said she took "a little bit of hope" from the judgment"