Dutch GPs should refer rejected euthanasia requests to another doctor: end of life foundation

Doctors in the Netherlands should refer their patients to another doctor if they can not or do not want to grant a euthanasia request themselves, according to the foundation Levenseindenkliniek (End of Life Clinic), ANP reports.

As expertise center in the field of euthanasia, the clinic mainly wants to deal with complex euthanasia cases, such as when it involves patients with dementia or psychiatric disorders. Yet a relatively large number of the cases they receive involve so-called "non-complex" euthanasia requests - involving patients with a terminal illness. These requests can be handled by the patient's own doctor, or a colleague, according to the foundation. 

The clinic therefore wants to arrange a meeting with the professional group for doctors to discuss the matter. 

Doctors organization KNMG also wants to support doctors in referring euthanasia requests. "If a doctor can not agree to a request for euthanasia due to personal reasons, it is important that he speaks to the patient about it in a timely manner and helps him find another doctor", chairman Rene Heman said. "It is not a legal obligation, but a moral and professional responsiblity."