Nurses to be consulted on assisted dying

Nurses are to be consulted on the issue of assisted dying as the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) calls for an increase in funding for palliative care.

Dr Peter Carter (Photograph:Steffan Hill)

This week Margo MacDonald, an independent MSP for Lothians who suffers from Parkinson's disease, launched a consultation on plans to make assisted suicide legal, saying helping someone to die could be a healthcare professional's 'last caring act'.

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said: 'Margo MacDonald has raised an incredibly important issue that everyone involved in healthcare should be prepared to discuss in an open and non-judgmental way.

'Over the coming months, the RCN will be talking to our members about this most complex of issues.

'It must also be made clear that, whether or not the governments in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland or Westminster make any changes to current policy, they must all step up funding for palliative care.

'All too often we hear that support, services and advice needed for both patients and their families are not available.

Palliative care is about a patient’s dignity and should never be viewed as an optional extra.’

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