Warning on end-of-life GP requests

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THE majority of people in the Lothians would not want their life prolonged if they were dying, but hardly any have told their GP.

It has been warned that thousands of people in the area may not get the end-of-life care they hoped for unless they become more open with their doctor.

A survey by the organisation Compassion in Dying found that 60 per cent of people locally would not request treatment to prolong their life, but only three per cent had made this request formal.

The charity’s adviser, Dr Richard Scheffer, said: “I think this poll result will come as a surprise to many people.

“There is an assumption that doctors must always do all we can to keep people alive.

“However, when someone is clearly dying, it is often in their best interests for medical staff to focus on using palliative treatments to ensure they are comfortable rather than to continue more aggressive life-sustaining treatment.”