HC Deb 27 October 2003 vol 412 cc90-1WS
Mr. Wray

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures are in place to ensure that medical staff do not perform procedures to assist dying; and if he will make a statement. [133201]

Ms Rosie Winterton

Medical treatment which is either omitted or given to a patient with the specific intention of hastening or inducing death, whether at the patient's wish or not, is an illegal act, and is subject to a charge of murder or manslaughter. Assisted suicide is unlawful in the United Kingdom. Anyone alleged to have undertaken it would be open to penalties of up to 14 years' imprisonment under the Suicide Act 1961. As such, there is an obligation on anyone, including health professionals, to report to the police any suspicions that a crime has been committed.

The General Medical Council, The Nursing and Midwifery Council and other UK health care regulatory bodies place a requirement on health professionals to act to identify and minimise risk to patients and clients.

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