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Third of family doctors say euthanasia should be legalised

5 February 2009

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Euthanasia should be legalised, according to a third of family doctors questioned in a survey for GP magazine.

And it reports that nearly four in 10 would themselves be ready to help patients take their own lives – double the number of five years ago.

While a Brunel University survey in 2004 found that 82% of doctors wanted euthanasia banned, a more recent poll reported that 38% thought the law should be changed to allow it.

Now, opinion is significantly more pro-euthanasia: 39% say that they should be able to help patients end their lives, and 38% that if the law was changed they would do so.

Much of the change of heart is credited to the 100 Britons who are thought to have ended their lives at the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland.

Among them was 23-year-old Daniel James, who travelled to the clinic with parents Mark and Julie after he was paralysed in a rugby accident.

Meanwhile, multiple sclerosis sufferer Debbie Purdy has launched a court bid to force the authorities to allow her husband to help her travel to a euthanasia clinic without fear of being prosecuted.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

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