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The Dutch celebrate 20 years law on euthanasia

On Monday 25 April, the Dutch RTD Society NVVE organized a successful conference to celebrate 20 years of euthanasia law in the Netherlands. Misunderstandings and bottlenecks in the implementation practice were discussed. Various experts argued that the law is excellently put together, but that there is still room for improvement in its implementation.

For that reason, the NVVE argued that the government should provide more information about euthanasia, both to the public as to professionals. A referral obligation should come to ensure that patients of doctors who do not want to perform euthanasia can go to a doctor who is open to it.

How the euthanasia law should be interpreted is up to the doctors and the review committees, said the Dutch minister of Health, who was present there. According to him, euthanasia should not become the plaything of certain groups that want to implement restrictions under the guise of protecting doctors. Although he did not say it eplicitly, this could be interpreted as a reference to an earlier statement of the Public Prosecution Service, that stricter supervision of the euthanasia practice would lead to better protection of doctors.