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Assisted suicide could be viewed as an 'opportunity for cost saving' by the NHS, church leader fears

Assisted dying could be seen as a cost-saving exercise if the practice was to be allowed in Scotland, a leading cleric has warned.

Rt Rev Iain Greenshields, moderator of the Church of Scotland, said he is concerned that letting terminally ill patients legally end their lives would permanently change the NHS, particularly given how much pressure it is currently under.

Rev Greenshields said passing such laws could open up a raft of unexpected challenges and sick or disabled people would start to be seen as burdensome. 

‘The acceptance by society of legally assisted dying profoundly changes relationships not only between health professionals and patients, but also within families,’ the church leader said.

‘We are concerned that, should assisted dying be legalised, the way our society views older people and those with disabilities will, over time, become more utilitarian.’

Citing Canadian assisted dying laws, Rev Greenshields said even with strict conditions in place, opening the floodgates by passing any version of the law would likely result in later expansion. 

It is estimated assisted dying could reduce costs by up to £84 million per year, the publication reports. 

Advocates of assisted dying say it offers terminally ill patients a painless and fast alternative. 

Source of data and images: dailymail

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