Assisted suicide doctor allowed back to work

A doctor who provided tablets to help a patient end her own life has been allowed back to work.

Dr Ian Kerr was suspended last year by the General Medical Council (GMC) for six months after he prescribed tablets to a pensioner who wanted to kill herself.

The 87-year-old was worried about becoming a burden to her family. She did not take the tablets Dr Kerr provided, and disposed of them when he came under investigation.

Dr Kerr was investigated after he mentioned in an appraisal that his “achievements” included helping patients to end their lives.

When the GMC met again recently to consider the case, Dr Kerr told them he felt he could resist the “temptation” to repeat his misconduct.

He has now been allowed to return to work, but is banned from prescribing any barbiturates, benzodiazepines and co-proxamol tablets to his patients.

His work will be monitored by a GMC supervisor, and he will be required to keep computerised records of all his prescriptions.

At the time of Dr Kerr’s initial suspension last year, Dr Michael Irwin, of pro-euthanasia organisation Dignity In Dying, said: “I do not want to sound too optimistic, but in the recent past doctors doing the same kind of thing were struck off.”

However, the British Medical Association remains firmly opposed to the idea of physician-assisted suicide.

Backbench MPs may try to change the law on assisted suicide later this year when the Coroners and Justice Bill is debated in Parliament.

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