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GPs ‘must change attitude’ over euthanasia

5 December 2003

BRUSSELS – Many GPs are still unfamiliar or uncomfortable with Belgium’s euthanasia law – and the Scientific Organisation for Flemish GPs wants doctors to be better prepared.

“The fact that patients can decide to end their lives, under the strict conditions laid down in the law, demands a change in attitude from many doctors,” said a statement issued by the organisation.

The law legalising euthanasia was passed a year ago, but several GPs have found it difficult to implement, especially those uncomfortable letting patients decide for themselves to end their lives.

The Organisation for Flemish GPs believes one of the most important problems is a lack or coordination between doctors, and poor communication with patients.

It intends to work more closely with other medical organisations, such as the Flemish Federation for Palliative Care and the Life’s End Information Forum, both designed to assist doctors faced with euthanasia.

At total of 203 patients have made use of the euthanasia law since it was passed in September 2002.

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Subject: Belgian news