Jeane Freeman backs proposed legislation to allow assisted dying

Former Scotland health secretary Jeane Freeman has backed proposed legislation to allow assisted suicide.

Ms Freeman, who stood down as an MSP at the Holyrood election in May, said it is something she would want herself, if necessary.

Holyrood is currently consulting on a proposal by Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur for an Assisted Dying Bill.

Ms Freeman told the Sunday Times: “The bottom line for me is I would want that for myself and for my loved ones if that’s what they wanted and if that’s how I feel, I can’t justify denying it to someone else.

Stock photo of Jeane Freeman addressing MSPs in the Scottish Parliament

“The huge drive in healthcare is for person-centred care and for patients to have as much information as possible about the condition or disease they’re suffering from and about what all the options are so their choice can be an informed one.”

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She added: “That can be agreeing to have surgery or medication or other treatment so you’re simply carrying that principle on while making sure there are caveats and precautions to ensure that choice isn’t open to abuse.”

The proposed Bill seeks to legalise assisted dying as a choice for adults who are both terminally ill and mentally competent.

Two doctors would have to independently confirm a person is terminally ill before assisted suicide can be considered, as well as establishing they have the mental capacity to make such a request and have not been coerced.

Doctors would also need to ensure the person has been fully informed of options for palliative and hospice care.