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Readers’ letters: Depressed might use assisted suicide

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Sir, – The debate on “assisted dying” is a highly emotive issue but there is a need for objectivity and sensitivity.

The Bill being brought before Holyrood is for “assisted suicide” – quite a different beast.

Assisted dying is exactly what palliative care practitioners are already providing whereby they give love, care and compassion to those dying; at the same time easing pain and suffering through to a natural death.

Assisted suicide unnaturally hastens the death of the patient. Ultimately, a medical practitioner prescribes a cocktail of drugs that the individual takes themselves.

Many testimonies reveal this is often fraught with pain, disorientation and bewilderment.

Witness statements reveal the process of dying under these conditions can take hours, and has been known to take up to two days before death occurs.

This is not compassion, and is by no means without suffering to the individual.

The evidence from other countries is clear that the safeguards will not prevent assisted suicide being offered for non-terminal conditions, eg depression.

Also, many vulnerable people will feel pressured into ending their own lives through this route for fear of being a burden to their families or society.

The only safeguard is to reject this Bill.

Stuart McKay, Cairnwell Drive, Aberdeen.

End free medicine and school meals

Sir, – The British national debt now stands at £2.3 trillion, which equates to around 96.1% of gross domestic product (GDP).

These numbers should be a wake-up call to Nicola Sturgeon and others who continue to want to borrow money to cover the costs of virus restrictions without a second thought on the burden it is placing on the taxpayers and future generations who will have to pay back this debt.

As harsher restrictions have been introduced by the Scottish Government which are not replicated elsewhere it should be up to them to support businesses. They might not have borrowing capacity like the UK Treasury but they can get funds from elsewhere.

Firstly Audit Scotland identified a £580 million underspend by the Scottish Government in fiscal year 2020-2021. Where did this underspend go? If the money has not been spent then it should be given immediately to businesses.

Could the Scottish Government put a pause on the endless “freebies” such as baby boxes, free school meals, free prescriptions etc and this money could be diverted to support the impacts of Covid.

Do we need to spend £349.5m in the coming financial year on constitutional matters, again this money could be used to support long-term business recovery.

Rather than place more burden on the taxpayer wouldn’t it be so much better for the Scottish Government to utilise one of these options or others rather than claim there is very little they can do and continue to blame the UK Treasury for its lack of support to Scottish businesses.

Mhairi E Rennie, Finlayson Street, Fraserburgh.

Ageing is natural and inevitable

Sir, – In Nina Massey’s article on muscle cells in space I must raise an eyebrow at the quote “Ageing is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st Century”.

Ageing is a natural and inevitable process. Sending muscle cells in a Petri dish into space is a mere speedbump to the juggernaut of the natural ageing process.

Instead more funding for our existing and sometimes inadequate health and social care systems should be made available to make life easier and more accessible for our older population.

Let’s not run before we can walk.

Mark A Bailey, Forres, Moray.

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