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One in three GPs wants law change on assisted suicide

More than a third of GPs want the law changed to allow them to assist patients who want to end their own lives, a study has found.

The law change would enable GPs to write prescriptions for the drugs requested by the patients to commit suicide.

The poll of 500 GPs also found 28 per cent in favour of new legislation to allow doctors to have a direct role in ending a person's life.

Some 44 per cent of GPs polled by Medix-UK.com said they had been asked by a patient to assist in their suicide or euthanasia.

The survey came as the Patient Assisted Dying Bill had its first reading in the House of Lords last week.

The Bill would allow a terminally ill patient to request medical assistance to die. It contains an opt-out clause for doctors who feel they cannot help a patient for reasons of conscience.

Dr Michael Irwin, chair of the British Voluntary Euthanasia Society, said he believed a third of all deaths in the UK were physician assisted.

An 'extravagant' use of diamorphine was the most common method used by GPs, he claimed. Dr Irwin, a former GP, said his estimate was based on research carried out in Belgium, Denmark and Australia.

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